AOL to use web bugs after policy change

This may be old news, but I'll post anyway!

A recent addition to America Online's privacy policy clears the way for the company to use online tracking tools, including cookies and Web bugs, to compile anonymous data about its members and measure the effectiveness of advertising.

"AOL and its advertisers may use cookie technology to determine on an anonymous basis which advertisements members have seen and how members responded to them," the policy reads following an Aug. 28 amendment. "AOL and its advertisers may also use small pieces of code called 'Web beacons' or 'clear GIFs' to collect anonymous and aggregate advertising metrics, such as counting page views, promotion views, or advertising responses.

Company spokesman Andrew Weinstein said the AOL Time Warner division has not yet begun using cookies or Web bugs but could do so. He added that the company would not use the technology to track user behavior. Rather, the cookies and bugs would only be used to figure out how many people viewed a certain type of advertisement.

"We do not allow these technologies to track what members are doing on the Web or on the service, nor do we allow any organization to build profiles about our members," he said.

News source: CNet News

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