BlueKai could not be reached for comment to find out how many of the 160 million people whose profiles it is selling to advertisers worldwide had opted out of the service.   And a British company, Phorm, which has been investigated by European regulators for alleged privacy breaches, targets customers of consenting internet service providers with ads based on websites they visit and their customer details. Such is the concern about online privacy that American regulators are even considering a ”do not track” register, similar to the Australian Do Not Call database set up three years ago to combat telemarketing. ”However, that’s rapidly changing and the question arises whether the current law is sufficient to address these issues.”

BlueKai says it does not collect or share personal information such as names, addresses or phone numbers. It is set to ignite a debate in Australia over whether the harvesting of people’s internet browsing history is an invasion of privacy. A former federal privacy commissioner, Malcolm Crompton, said the debate over online privacy in Australian would become a ”man in the street issue”. ———————————-Inside the cookie monster———————————-

The world’s largest ”data exchange”, the Californian company BlueKai, boasts it already has the computer addresses and ”purchasing intent” of 8 million Australians it knows are in the market for cars, holidays and online shopping. Users are identified by their computer browser’s address and not by name. ”Up until now Australian businesses have not been very aggressive in this area,” said Mr Crompton of the consultancy Information Integrity Solutions, which advises companies and government on privacy matters. THE online behaviour of millions of Australians is to be tracked and auctioned to advertisers by a new generation of internet businesses setting up shop here. It was found to have served up ads to users of British Telecom’s net service without seeking their prior consent. Both are part of a wave of companies poised to enter the market to mine the data that flows from people’s browsing history.