As we increasingly rely on the Internet and digital technology to help us make better choices about our health, consumers face new challenges. The online medical marketplace is evolving with few safeguards, raising questions about how best to protect our privacy, receive reliable information, and aren’t subjected to unfair marketing practices. CDD is working to ensure the digital health field is accountable; privacy is respected, and that safeguards are in place for online health marketing.

  • A Big Win for Commercial Surveillance on the Internet -- a Gigantic Loss for Democracy

    By: Staff | Mar 30 2017


    US Citizens and Consumers left further exposed to unfair and discriminatory data practices.

    The following can be attributed to Katharina Kopp, Policy Director, Center for Digital Democracy. 


    Today’s House vote to overturn the first major Internet privacy protection for Americans, may be a win for ISP monopolies, but it’s a tragic loss for our democracy. 

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  • People Have No Control

    By: Jeff Chester | Mar 30 2017

    CDD Executive Director, Jeff Chester speaks on Congress’ dismantling of the FCC Privacy Rule with CNN’s Jake Tapper on March 29th, 2017.

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  • The New Age of Food Marketing

    By: Staff | Jan 18 2017

    This report provides a snapshot of five categories of marketing tactics used by fast food, snack food, and soft drink companies to target children and adolescents. These categories include: 1) creating immersive environments; 2) infiltrating social networks; 3) location-based and mobile marketing; 4) collecting personal data; and 5) studying and triggering the subconscious. Descriptions of these categories along with examples from the food and beverage industry are provided.

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  • Digital Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents: Problematic Practices and Policy Interventions

    By: Staff | Jan 18 2017

    This report examines trends in digital marketing to youth that uses "immersive" techniques, social media, behavioral profiling, location targeting and mobile marketing, and neuroscience methods. Recommends principles for regulating inappropriate advertising to youth.

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  • Peeking Behind the Curtain: Food and Marketing Industry Research Supporting Digital Media Marketing to Children and Adolescents

    By: Jeff Chester | Jan 17 2017

    This report describes and provides examples of the types of digital marketing research utilized by the food and beverage industry and the potential effects it has on the health of children and adolescents. Researchers found that food and beverage industry, together with the companies they contract, are conducting three major types of research: 1) testing and deploying new marketing platforms, 2) creating new research methods to probe consumers’ responses to marketing, and 3) developing new means to assess the impact of new digital research on marketers’ profits.

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  • Role of health technology may distract, not empower providers & patients. A reminder via NY Review of Books essay

    By: Jeff Chester | Jan 21 2014

    A personal essay in the New York Review of Books by Dr. Arnold Relman on his recent serious accident reminds us that not only does fate play an important role in our lives, but the limits of our health care system.  I urge you to read it.  But in addition to the horrific experience he (and his family) had to undergo (and he's a lucky one). Dr.

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  • Leading Consumer, Privacy, Child Advocacy & Public Health Groups Call on FTC Chair to Appoint "Pro-Consumer" and "Independent of Industry" BCP Director

    By: Jeff Chester | Mar 19 2013

    This letter was sent today to new FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez by three-dozen NGOs--including the national leaders in the consumer and privacy fields. 

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  • FTC Complaint on Digital Pharma & Health Marketing

    By: Jeff Chester | Oct 5 2011

    November 23, 2010 - Washington, DC: In a complaint filed today with the Federal Trade Commission, the Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog, and the World Privacy Forum called on the commission to investigate unfair and deceptive advertising practices that consumers face as they seek health information and services online. 

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  • CDD Asks FDA to Revise Its Proposed Research on the Digital Marketing of Drugs and Health Products

    By: Jeff Chester | Jun 27 2011

    Washington, DC: The Center for Digital Democracy, in comments filed today with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), urged the agency to significantly revise its proposed studies on the “Examination of Online Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Promotion.” Citing the wide variety of techniques that pharmaceutical and health marketers use to target consumers online, CDD called for a more informed analysis that reflects how U.S. health consumers are actually marketed to on social networks, mobile phones, and via the Web.

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  • Food Marketing in the Digital Age: A Conceptual Framework and Research Agenda

    By: Jeff Chester | Apr 11 2011

    An analysis of the contemporary digital marketing landscape, focusing on the promotion of food & beverage products to youth.  Written by Kathryn Montgomery, Ph.D., Sonya Grier, Ph.D, Lori Dorfman, Dr.PH, and Jeff Chester, MSW. 

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  • Press Release For The FTC Complaint on Digital Pharma/Health Marketing

    By: Jeff Chester | May 6 2005

    CDD, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog, and World Privacy Forum call on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate interactive marketing of pharmaceutical and health products and services to consumers and health professionals.  

    Action is required to protect consumers, including their privacy, in the online health and medical marketplace. The FTC has a role to play to help the Food and Drug Administration address new threats.

    Read the press release below for details…

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  • Alcohol Marketing in the Digital Era: A Report

    By: Jeff Chester | Apr 27 2005

    Contact: Jeff Chester, CDD, 202-494-7100

    Digital and Social Media Marketing Promotion of Beer and Liquor Threatens Youth, new report warns

    Consumer and health groups call on FTC and state attorneys general for action; will announce recommendations at May 18 news conference

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  • Drug Marketing Moves to Digital: How Pharmaceutical Companies Pitch Consumers Online

    By: Jeff Chester | Apr 21 2005

    For the past 25 years, pharmaceutical companies have been permitted to market their products directly to consumers. More recently, in the years following the Food and Drug Administration’s relaxation of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising guidelines in 1997, spending on such promotion grew more than six-fold, reaching $5 billion by 2008.

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