Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

magnifyYou answer a few on-line surveys, shop for a trip on-line, read news articles or post your favorite movies on Facebook. You've just shared a lot of information with businesses and other entities without even thinking.

This week at the Conference of Western States Attorneys General (CWAG) annual meeting Attorney General Rob McKenna moderated a fascinating panel on privacy issues facing the nation today.

As Chris Jay Hoofnagle, one of the panelists and director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology's information privacy programs, reports on the Berkeley Blog,  one area of focus was the need to "address the problem of behavioral advertising because consumers do not understand the complicated decision making present in the background of interest-based advertising."

Have you ever wondered why you receive e-mails or Facebook ads with the latest deals on products or travel that seem to read your mind? As you click around on various sites, those sites are collecting data to help businesses target their advertisting to your interests. It's cool technology, but the Attorneys General want to make sure that technology doesn't go too far into compromising your personal information.

Washington Assistant ATtorney General Shannon Smith, one of our own privacy experts, also served on the panel. CWAG has already posted a link to a video of this panel: Privacy 3.0 — Emerging Enforcement and Policy Issues here if you want to check it out.

-- Janelle Guthrie, APR