IAB Releases Less “Rigid” Privacy Guidelines Than FTC Wants

Written on
Feb 25, 2008 
Sarah Novotny  |

privacy11.jpgADOTAS – The Interactive Advertising Bureau today announced the release of “privacy principles” for its members to follow; but the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was clearly hoping for more stringent privacy guidelines.

In December of 2007, the FTC proposed online behavioral ad privacy principles to address consumer concerns. Instead of imposing regulations however, the commission said marketers and Web sites should police themselves. Among the FTC’s recommendations: “Every Web site where data is collected for behavioral advertising should provide a clear, consumer-friendly, and prominent statement that data is being collected to provide ads targeted to the consumer and give consumers the ability to choose whether or not to have their information collected for such purpose.”

In addition: “Companies should obtain affirmative express consent from affected consumers before using data in a manner materially different from promises the company made when it collected the data.”

The IAB’s proposed guidelines stress consumers’ desire for free Internet services and targeted ads: “Consumers enjoy cost-free online content; competitive pricing and product comparisons; education and information gathering tools; communications, such as free email and telephone services; social networking environments and online safety tools all because of online advertising,” said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB, in a release. “Research shows consumers value free Internet services highly and prefer advertising that is relevant to their interests, but want guarantees that their personally identifiable information won’t be misused.”

he IAB says that consumers would prefer their guidelines to the FTC’s “too rigid” standards. “IAB members understand the relationship between consumers and companies is built on trust. As a result, IAB members have long been committed to guarding consumers’ information and privacy,” Rothenberg said. “Based on the industry’s experience, we believe the FTC is too rigid on the matters of notice and choice. Our principles strike the appropriate balance between protecting consumers’ security and allowing industry to provide the free services and content they desire.”

The IAB will submit its proposed guidelines to the FTC by the end of this month. Only time will tell if the IAB’s “meaningful notice” will squeak past the FTC’s hoped-for “prominent statement.”

Sarah Novotny is a contributing editor at Adotas. Sarah grew up in San Jose, California. Her educational and professional career have taken her to both Los Angeles and New York City where she received a B.F.A. from NYU. As a writer, Sarah has free-lanced for various publications focusing primarily on traditional advertising and media reviews. When not writing and editing for Adotas, Sarah is continuing her acting career in various theatrical and film/television productions.

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