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Internet Advertising after Sorrell v. IMS Health: A Discussion on Privacy and the First Amendment

32 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2012 Last revised: 28 Aug 2012

Agatha M. Cole


Date Written: 2012


This Article examines the scope of Sorrell v. IMS Health, its potential impact on legislative efforts to enact comprehensive consumer privacy legislation, and its implications for targeted Internet advertising. Part I provides a general overview of ad-targeting technology, emphasizing the tension between its capacity to fuel economic growth and its tendency to neglect consumer privacy interests. Part II traces the development of growing public concern over consumer privacy, subsequent proposals to enact legislation, and the proliferation of widespread speculation about Sorrell’s impact upon such legislative reform. Part III goes beyond the hype around the case to provide a detailed analysis demonstrating why Sorrell does not preempt current legislative proposals to enact consumer privacy. Accordingly, this Article concludes that policymakers should embrace Sorrell as a blueprint for formulating regulations that strike an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and consumer privacy interests.

Keywords: First Amendment, Free Speech, Privacy, Advertising, Internet Advertising, Sorrell, Internet Policy, Do Not Track, Privacy Bill of Rights, Digital Media, Tracking, Online Tracking, Tracking Technology, Behavioral Marketing, Behavioral Tracking, Data Mining, Media, Intellectual Property, Newspapers

JEL Classification: A10, C8, F13, H10, H11, H70, I18, J10, J7, K10, K20, L10, L40, L96, L98, M20, M30, N70, O14, O30, O3

Suggested Citation

Cole, Agatha M., Internet Advertising after Sorrell v. IMS Health: A Discussion on Privacy and the First Amendment (2012). 30 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 283 (2012). Available at SSRN:

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