In an opinion issued on June 22, 2010, the EU Data Protection Authorities (Article 29 Working Party) clarified the legal framework applicable to online behavioral advertising – an activity that is becoming a hot topic for discussion as its popularity grows. Among other things, the Article 29 Working Party clearly took the position that it is incumbent upon advertising network providers to “create prior opt-in mechanisms requiring an affirmative action by the users indicating their willingness to receive cookies and the subsequent monitoring of their surfing behavior for the purposes of serving tailored advertising.”
The European Commission announced this week that it might sue the United Kingdom if that country fails to limit the tracking and collection of users’ Internet browsing habits and personal information without prior consent. The United Kingdom until now has adopted a self-regulatory approach similar to that followed by the Federal Trade Commission (we reported… Continue Reading
On February 12, 2009, the FTC issued its long-anticipated Staff Report on Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising. The revised Self-Regulatory Principles are the result of a year of study of the more than 60 comments provided by industry, advocacy organizations, academics, and individual consumers in response to the FTC’s proposed self-regulatory principles issued in late 2007.
In a year when behavioral advertising was already expected to be at the top of the hot button privacy issues list, on January 13, 2008, the Center for Digital Democracy (“CDT”) and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (“US PIRG”) filed a document with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) urging the FTC to investigate online mobile… Continue Reading
Behavioral tracking of consumers online in order to deliver relevant advertising is a privacy issue that is receiving a lot of attention, and one that has been the focus of Federal Trade Commission and consumer group scrutiny. On September 25th, the United States Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on online privacy and received commitments from the three industry representatives (from AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable) that if they do deploy technologies that are able to track consumer online behavior in order to tailor advertising, that consumers will have clear notice and a full opportunity to provide affirmative consent. None of the companies currently use such technologies in their roles as Internet Service Providers. The broadband providers challenged the rest of the online industry, including web site operators and application providers such as Google, to provide the same protections to consumers. Essentially, the witnesses called for an end to “opt out” when it comes to online advertising.
On July 17, 2008, the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee examined the practice of deep packet inspection (DPI), a method for networks and third parties to determine what information users (identified by IP addresses or random ID numbers) are searching for and accessing on the Internet in order to tailor more relevant advertising based on… Continue Reading
FTC staff issued a statement today proposing four “self-regulatory” principles to guide businesses engaged in online behavioral advertising. FTC staff also seeks public comments on these principles as well as additional information on what other uses businesses are making of online tracking data. Interested parties can submit comments by February 22, 2008. The statement, titled “Online Behavioral… Continue Reading