The true cost of online privacy

Do you like your privacy? I bet you do. What about being able to read all kinds of stuff on the internet without having to hand over your credit card number -- do you like that, too? I bet that's another yes. But which do you like more? You'd better figure that out quickly, because, if you don't, Congress just might decide for you.

Hoping to avert government regulation, a coalition of advertising and marketing groups today issued a set of guidelines for how its members ought to go about collecting and using information about consumers' online behavior. The guidelines are organized around a Buddhist-sounding list of seven principles, including a commitment to educate consumers about how behavioral advertising works, an embrace of transparency about how data is collected, and a pledge to give consumers more control over how information about them is used.