Online behavioral advertising—and the regulatory role that the FCC and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should play in policing online privacy—were key topics of debate at a joint hearing conducted late last week by the House Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee and Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The hearing took place as House Internet Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-VA) and other House members continue work on draft legislation that would provide online privacy protections for consumers that are subjected to behavioral advertising from Google and other web-based firms. While much of the exchange centered upon the pros and cons of an “opt-in” or “opt-out” consent protocol that pertains to the usage of personal or web-browsing data for behavioral advertising purposes, subcommittee members also questioned executives of Google and Yahoo and other witnesses on industry efforts at self-regulation and on whether FCC or FTC intervention is needed. As representatives of Google and Facebook, Inc. described their companies’ respective efforts at protecting consumer privacy, Charles Curran, the executive director of the Network Advertising Initiative, confirmed that several industry groups were developing updated self-regulatory principles to address the concerns of consumers and lawmakers. While applauding that initiative, however, ranking House Energy and Commerce Committee member Joe Barton (R-TX) suggested that government intervention may be needed "to bring some law and order" to what is "still a bit of a Wild West area.” Barton’s sentiments were echoed by House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Boucher, who maintained that an online privacy bill is needed in spite of the beneficial role that behavioral advertising can play in encouraging consumers to shop online. With respect to jurisdictional venues and their roles, Edward Felten of Princeton University told lawmakers that the subject of online privacy is "fundamentally a consumer protection issue" that should fall to the FCC both in terms of regulation and enforcement.