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CFPB should track Google, expert says

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should regulate targeted online advertising that appears on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, while consumers are researching financial products, according to an online technology watchdog company.

Nathan Newman, the director of Tech-Progress.org, recently submitted comments to the bureau that recommended it should focus on regulations to “behavioral targeting associated with the advertising practices of these search engines and the advertising services they provide.” This would include data collected on consumers who are researching information on financial products such as mortgages, ReverseMortgageDaily.com reports.

“Given the increasing role of the Internet as a means for consumers to find financial services — and in turn be subject to abusive practices that harm consumer interests — we write today to ask the Bureau to include the online intermediaries, particularly search engines and other online advertisers using so-called behavioral targeting, which are playing an increasing role in linking consumers with a range of financial institutions,” Newman wrote, according ReverseMortgageDaily.com.

The comments suggest that the bureau collect more data to measure the impact of such behavioral targeting on consumers and to implement regulations to protect those consumers.

“The CFPB should define a broad market for financial regulation that includes all companies collecting personal data and using it for behavioral targeting — both directly through specific search terms for example but also combining other personal data collected in order to connect consumers to financial institutions with targeted offers,” Newman wrote, ReverseMortgageDaily.com reports.

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