Canoe Ventures, the joint advertising venture funded by the nation’s six largest cable operators, was slated to be in the spotlight during this morning’s House Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee.

According to The Associated Press, the Center for Digital Democracy has contacted members of the committee in regard to Canoe Ventures’ targeted advertising initiatives. Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, was quoted in the Associated Press story regarding his concerns that Canoe Ventures could be treading on both antitrust and privacy grounds with its plans for targeted advertising.

At issue is whether companies such as Canoe Ventures can gather information off of consumers’ set-top boxes to direct specific advertisements to them. While targeted, or addressable, ads are one of the goals of Canoe Ventures, it has said that gathering information from set-top boxes isn’t in its current plans. Instead, Canoe Ventures will rely on third-party demographics when it launches its community addressable messaging product next month.

Canoe Ventures is a joint venture among Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Cablevision that seeks to create a nationwide platform for addressable advertising, which will in turn stem the flow of advertising dollars to the Internet.

National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow addressed the members of the subcommittee this morning. The NCTA provided a copy of McSlarrow’s testimony (available here).

“Our industry views the protection of our customers’ privacy as a fundamental part of our relationship with our customers and central to the success of our businesses,” McSlarrow said. “We operate in a highly competitive marketplace, and our ability to succeed depends on winning and retaining the trust of those customers. And as new business models and new network technologies are developed, we will ensure that they are deployed in a manner that respects our customers’ privacy.”

McSlarrow also addressed concerns over cable operators’ use of deep packet inspection (DPI).

According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T was slated to advocate for more transparency and consumer control of targeted ads during the House subcommittee hearing (story here).

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