The Federal Trade Commission and a group of seven major web advertising companies have shaken hands on a deal to set agreed standards of consumer data-gathering methodology via the internet.

The voluntary pact signed by the trail-blazing septet (AdKnowledge, Adsmart, AdForce, DoubleClick, Engage Technologies, NetGravity and Real Media), allows consumers to opt out of any internet system that records their information and online activity.

Surfers will also be able to decide whether to allow previously collected anonymous data to be merged with personally identifying information, and give their permission for the gathering of such personalised data.

The FTC now intends to lobby for legislation to ensure that all web advertisers adhere to the newly agreed rules.

The agreement follows this week’s introduction in the Senate of the Consumer Privacy Enhancement Act [WAMN, 27-Jul-00].

News source: Financial Times