At a hearing last Thursday before the Senate Commerce Committee, AT&T and Verizon Communications pledged to refrain from tracking web site visits for the purpose of targeting advertising to Internet users, as they called for the adoption of voluntary, industry-wide standards under which Internet service providers (ISPs) would obtain consumer consent before collecting Internet usage data. During the hearing, committee members, consumer groups, phone and cable-based broadband operators, and web industry players such as Google discussed Internet data collection and the impact of ISP collection practices on consumer privacy. As broadband providers, web-based ISPs and portals such as Google and Yahoo jockey for lucrative advertising dollars to be gained through the Internet, many of these companies have devised an array of techniques—such as tracking cookies—to target ads to users that are based on web browsing habits. Although most providers keep these activities hidden from subscribers or allow users to opt-out of having their web browsing data collected for advertising purposes, Verizon and AT&T told lawmakers that they would avoid obtaining such data from customers unless subscribers grant explicit permission to do so. As Verizon executive vice president Thomas Tauke stressed that, “before a company captures certain Internet-usage data . . . it should obtain meaningful, affirmative consent from consumers,” AT&T chief privacy officer Dorothy Attwood said, “we encourage all companies that engage in online behavioral advertising . . . to adopt this affirmative advance consent paradigm.” Google, however, warned that an opt-in consent model would undercut advertiser support for the World Wide Web, as it cited steps it has taken to protect consumer privacy. Arguing that “every advertising platform and business model would be put at risk,” a representative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau quipped: “if Congress required ‘opt-in’ today, Congress would be back tomorrow writing an Internet bailout bill.”