Nicole Wong testifies before House Cmte on Energy & Commerce

>>Miss Wong, you have five minutes, or thereabouts.>>NICOLE WONG: Thank you.
Chairmen Rush and Boucher, ranking members Radanovich and Stearns, and members of the
committee, I’m pleased to appear before you this evening to discuss online advertising
and the ways that Google protects our users’ privacy.
Online advertising is critically important to our economy.
It promotes freer, more robust and more diverse speech.
It enables many thousands of small businesses to connect with consumers across the nation
and around the world. It helps support the hundreds of thousands
of blogs, online newspapers and other web publications that we read every day.
Over the last decade, the industry has struggled with the challenges of providing behavioral
advertising. On the one hand, well-tailored ads benefit
consumers, advertisers and publishers alike. On the other hand, we recognize the need to
deliver relevant ads while respecting users’ privacy.
In March, Google entered this space and announced our release of intraspace advertising for
our AdSense partner sites and for Youtube. Intraspace advertising uses information about
the web pages people visit to make the online ads they see more relevant.
And relevant advertising has fueled much of the content, products and services available
on the internet today. As Google prepared to roll out intraspace
advertising, we talked to many users, privacy and consumer advocates and government experts.
Those conversations led us to realize that we needed to solve three important issues
in order to provide consumers with greater transparency and choice, which are core design
principles at Google. First, who served the ad?
Second, what information is being collected, and how is it being used?
And finally, how can consumers be given more control over how their information is used?
This evening, I’d like to show you how we answered each of those questions with the
launch of intraspace advertising, which includes innovative, consumer-friendly features to
provide meaningful transparency and choice for our users.
When you see an online ad today, you generally don’t know much about that ad.
It’s difficult to tell who provided the ad and how your information is being collected
and used. Google is trying to solve this problem by
providing a link to more information right in the ad.
As you can see where it’s labeled “Ads by Google.”
This is very different from current industry practices, but we believe that it is important
to provide users more information about the ad right at the point of interaction.
We believe that this is a significant innovation that empowers consumers, and we think that
this is the direction that many in the industry are going.
If you’re curious about getting information about the ad, you can click on the Google
link and navigate to an information page about Google Ads, which you can see here.
On this page, you’re invited to visit our Ads Preference Manager, which helps explain–
in a plain language, user-friendly format– what information is being collected, how it’s
being used and how you can exercise choice and get more information about how this advertising
product works. Here’s the Ads Preference Manager.
This innovative tool allows you to see what interests are associated with an advertising
cookie, the double-click cookie, that is set in the browse you’re using.
In this case, Google has inferred that my cookie should be associated with hybrid cars,
movie rentals and sales, and real estate. This is because I visited sites, using the
browser, about hybrids, movies and real estate. Before Google introduced the Ads Preference
Manager, most users had no idea what interests were being associated with their cookies online
by advertising companies. We’re the first major company to introduce
this kind of transparency. Now you can see those interests, and if you
don’t agree with those interests– maybe your not a movie fan, or you simply don’t want
to see ads about movies– you can delete any one of them, or a few, or as many as you want.
So, for example, if you want to delete movie rentals and sales, you can do that with one
click. I’ve just done that.
Likewise, you can add any interests you like. Note that Google does not use sensitive categories,
so there’s nothing in here about sexual orientation, religious affiliation, health status or the
like. But there are many, many other options.
For example, if you’re a sports fan, you can associate your cookie with sports.
And with a click, I’ve decided that I’d like to receive ads personalized for sports fans.
If you prefer not to see intraspace ads from Google, you can opt-out at any time with one
click. After you opt-out, Google won’t collect information
for intraspace advertising, and you won’t receive intraspace ads from us.
You’ll still see ads, but they may not be as relevant.
The opt-out is achieved by attaching an opt-out cookie to your browser.
Opt-out cookies in the industry, however, have traditionally not been persistent, that
is they’re often inadvertently deleted from the browser when the user deletes her cookies.
So our engineers have developed a tool– that was not previously available– that makes
Google’s opt-out cookie [no audio], even when users clear other cookies from their browsers.
After you opt-out, just click the “Download” button and follow the instructions to install
a browser plug-in that saves your opt-out settings even when you clear your cookies.
I hope this gives you a better idea how Google shows intraspace ads, and how we provide users
with transparency in the right place, at the right time, as well as meaningful, granular
and user-friendly choices for setting ad preferences or opting out.
Thank you very much for your time.

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