(Washington, D.C.)— Requesting that any definition of online behavioral tracking exclude survey, opinion and marketing research, CMOR, a non-profit trade association for the survey and opinion research profession, last week urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to flesh out and clarify its admittedly “broad definition” of online behavioral advertising.

“As currently conceived, the FTC’s definition could include and restrict behavioral tracking for legitimate research purposes, including the use of cookies,” said Howard Fienberg, CMOR’s Director of Government Affairs. “The FTC’s position could strangle many possible new methods of research—methods that could better serve consumer choice and privacy than current methods—before they’ve even been conceived.”

Emphasizing CMOR’s support for most of the concepts and goals underpinning the FTC’s principles, CMOR’s official filing stated that data privacy is the cornerstone of the survey and opinion research profession.

The filing added that no research companies or organizations are known to have suffered a data breach and suggested that online behavioral tracking could be a form of research particularly well-suited to the needs of non-profit entities, political activists, and forprofit businesses that are small or serve niche markets and interests.

“Such research could have profoundly positive benefits for consumers and citizens and such public good is worth preserving,” said Fienberg.