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Behavioral Advertising

In the fall of 2008, Swire taught a seminar at the Moritz College of Law of the Ohio State University on “Behavioral Advertising.” We have created this web page in hopes of informing the legal and policy debate about online advertising.

For the seminar, each student signed up to play a role, such as an FTC Commissioner, a privacy advocate, or a company that does online advertising. The first part of the semester included background reading, as well as guest teaching appearances by Professor Eric Goldman of the Santa Clara Law School, Michael Hintze of Microsoft, and Justin Weiss of the Network Advertising Initiative. (Great thanks to each of the guest faculty!)

Each student wrote a 12-15 page paper as an advocate for their assigned perspective. The paper writers then presented their papers to the class in groups of four, with the format of a congressional hearing. The other students (and the professor) asked questions during each hearing, playing their assigned role (for instance, a privacy advocate would try to get damaging admissions from companies about their practices).

When the hearings were complete, each student was asked to shift gears, and write a five-page paper. The final paper gave each student’s own view about what should happen in the behavioral advertising realm. Students had the choice whether to have these papers posted to this web page. Most chose to post with their name, a couple posted without their name, and the student representing the FBI perspective decided not to have her papers posted.

My hope as a professor was to take the students deep into a current and complex topic. I was curious to see what conclusions they would come to after a semester of study and debate. Here you can see what the students produced.

Initial Papers -- advocacy papers for each perspective

October 27

Rep. Ed Markey (Democrat) -- Mike Duffy

Republican in Congress -- Anonymous

Article 29 Working Group -- Jim Helmink

Professor Eric Goldman -- Tom Burns


November 10

Phorm -- Michael Young

Department of Justice -- [Paper Not Posted]

Verizon -- Ben Keller

Center for Democracy and Technology -- David Dirr


November 17

Venture Capitalist -- Chad Urban

Facebook -- Brian Beauchamp

Retailers -- Eric Whisler

Online Publishers Association -- Michael Talty


November 24

Microsoft -- [Anonymous]

Google -- Bryan Griffith

Network Advertising Initiative -- [Paper Not Posted]

Jeff Chester -- Mark Decker


December 1

FTC Chairman Kovacic -- Tony Frost

FTC Commissioner Harbour -- Leah Stoecker


Final papers -- The students give their views at the end of the term:

Beauchamp, Brian

Burns, Tom

Decker, Mark

Dirr, David

Duffy, Michael

Frost, Tony

Griffith, Brian

Helmink, Jim

Keller, Ben

Stoecker, Leah

Talty, Michael

Urban, Chad

Whisler, Eric

Young, Michael





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