Advertisers launch $1 million campaign to combat privacy concerns

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The initiative will provide at least $1 million to fund lobbying efforts, education and research. 

Woolley said the goal of the program is "preventing needless regulation or enforcement that could severely hamper consumer marketing and stifle innovation, tamping down unfavorable media attention, and reminding and educating consumers about the many and varied ways that their needs are met and they are thrilled and delighted."

Many online ads install tracking files, called "cookies," on users' computers and monitor them as they browse the Web. The advertising networks then display ads tailored to the users' browsing history.

Privacy groups, lawmakers and regulators have called for restrictions on online tracking, worrying that it intrudes on people's privacy.

The Federal Trade Commission has pushed for a feature that would allow users to opt out of online tracking. But negotiations with advertisers over a Do Not Track button appear to have stalled.

Advertisers argue that tracking produces more relevant ads and is critical for supporting popular free online services.

Woolley accused privacy groups of using overheated rhetoric to scare policymakers and the public. 

“They’ve frightened people with the idea that if you buy a deep fryer you will be denied healthcare,” she said.