So far, companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook have been allowed to "self-regulate" their marketing practices. This means that companies are largely free to install cookies on web surfer's computers without their knowing it. These cookies then track surfer behavior and tailor ads to their interests in what some people view as an Orwellian fashion.

The era of self-regulation might be nearing its end, according to BusinessWeek. On June 18, 2009, a House of Representatives subcommittee held a hearing to address the issue. There is, however, a concern among marketers that government involvement and legislation will not be able to keep up with the fast pace of technology or adapt itself accordingly.

Pick your favorite Big Brother, Google? Or the Federal Government?

Curt is the founder & CEO of a timesheet software company in Austin, Texas.