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Yahoo to offer Privacy Option in Advertising

It's a known fact that cookies on your computer can tell the 'bog brother' on the the internet a lot about you. Sometimes more that you want people to know.

In an effort to promote good faith, Yahoo has announced that they will let its Web visitors decline ads targeted to their browsing habits. This decision is made as Congress steps up scrutiny of customized advertising and consumer privacy. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has held a hearing questioning online advertising practices.

The option will likely be available by the end of August.

Visitors who decline would still see generic ads .The policy change does not affect Yahoo's other targeted ads, such as those tied to search terms or location.

The Yahoo trend does not stop the collection and retention of data that had been used to generate targeting profiles. Yahoo said it still needs the information for other reasons, including fraud detection and law-enforcement requests.

Time Warner's AOL began extending the option to its own sites late last year, incorporating technology it acquired with the purchase of the behavioral-targeting firm Tacoda. Microsoft Corp. also allows opt out on its own sites.

Google's privacy policy offers opt out to third-party sites only. Google say it conducts little, if any, behavioral targeting. Instead, Google has focused on contextual targeting, in which ads are influenced by one's search terms or the text of a Web article.

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