FTC Expected to Release Guidelines For Online Marketing

Will also include guidelines for behavioral advertising and consumer privacy

Posted at 8:27 p.m. ET

In a move that will affect broadcast and cable Web sites, the Federal Trade Commission Thursday is expected to release its final guidelines for online marketing, behavioral advertising and consumer privacy, according to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, which pushed for tougher rules.

An FTC spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

The FTC began looking at the issue, urged by groups including CDD and USPIRG. Following the concern raised by the combination of search engine Google and Internet marketer DoubleClick, the FTC developed some proposed rules for online marketing and data collection, which it put out for comment in December 2007.

Chester expects that, since the FTC is still run by a Bush appointee, the guidelines will smack of a "last act of the Bush FTC" that asserts that self regulation works. That was certainly the signal the FTC was sending when it put the rules out for comment, saying it was "a set of proposed principles to guide the development of self-regulation in this evolving area."

Chester says that kind of decision should embarrass the Obama White House. "Why is an agency responsible for overseeing much of the economy still being run by a GOP appointee," he asked.