Web Firms Choose Profit Over Privacy

Someone writes " Jonathan Krim
Washington Post Staff Writer looks at the state of online privacy. With the onslaught of spam, almost all companies promise not to sell consumer data. But many don't mention that such information is rented. This means that the list owner won't release the data to an outside marketer, but it will send messages to the list on the outsider's behalf. Targeted lists available for rent number in the thousands, including those from magazines, professional organizations and even political interest groups such as Republicans for Jesus.

"Companies continually troll for, and exploit, personally identifiable information," said Joseph Turow, a media professor at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in mass marketing. "Some Web sites unabashedly collect all the information they can about visitors and market [it] as aggressively as they can to advertisers and other marketers."

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