Onine advertisers: Boucher putting Internet infrastructure at risk

The online advertising industry's top lobbyist blasted Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) for "misunderstanding" how interactive media work, saying his proposed bill to protect consumers' online privacy is horribly misguided.

Interactive Advertising Bureau president and CEO Randall Rothenberg said in an op-ed that such a bill will stunt the growth of the online media market and put 3.1 million jobs at risk.

"Advertising is the engine of the consumer economy, and fundamentally the only way American shoppers can compare prices, discover products, and learn about new stores and sales in their neighborhood – and the sole way businesses can get this information to them," Rothenberg wrote. "Yet the Congressman wants to legislate its elimination."

Last week, in our special section on technology, Boucher wrote that websites should not share consumer information with third-parties without their consent and and consumers should be able to opt out of having information collected in the first place.

Boucher, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, is supposedly working on this bill with the subcommittee's top Republican, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). In the same special section, however, Stearns wrote that the government should keep its hands off the Internet.

"I wish he'd tell that to Rep. Rick Boucher," Rothenberg said.