Thursday, July 20, 2000
INTERNET ADVERTISING BUREAU (IAB) COMMITTED TO BROAD INDUSTRY EFFORTS FOR CONSUMER PRIVACY

Sees Effort by Microsoft As a Positive Step

New York, NY - JULY 20, 2000 - The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) applauded the Microsoft Corporation's (MSFT:Nasdaq) announced plan to review a technical solution to alert users when "Cookies" were being set on their Internet Explorer browsers. The IAB cautioned however, that such a solution, is just a first step and in order to be an effective tool for consumers, should work in conjunction with the practices and solutions of the industry at-large.

"While we believe that the proposed Cookie Prompt feature that Microsoft is exploring is being undertaken for the best possible reasons the protection of consumer privacy we believe that in order for this solution to be beneficial to consumers and the industry, it should be carefully evaluated to eliminate the possibility of any negative effect on the overall user experience," said IAB Chairman Rich LeFurgy. "Proposing a blanket approach to user notification on certain types of cookies raises several very basic points. There are various types of cookies, serving different purposes, many of which are consumer beneficial. Prompts for every cookie will dramatically slow down users experience, frustrating them by placing speed bumps online. Measurement and delivery concerns for marketers will increase, as competing browsers decide whether or not they will implement similar prompts, all of this slowing the economic growth of the Internet. "We welcome Microsoft's entry into the arena of consumer privacy. As we have often said, we strongly believe that the consumer's right to privacy is a central issue for the continued growth of the Internet, and is a fundamental building block for the associated growth of advertising and commerce. Any technical implementation should carefully assess consumer usability so that both the consumer and economic value of the Internet is not set back significantly. There may in fact be some benefit to Microsoft's proposed feature, but it is premature to think of it as a benefit before looking at its negatives. A more measured approach would be for the feature to be presented to the industry for consideration, perhaps evolving it into already existing industry initiatives," LeFurgy concluded.

Earlier this month the IAB issued Privacy guidelines for its membership, and in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers presented Privacy Forums in New York City and San Francisco. The guidelines, a key part of the IAB's mission to promote Internet advertising and commerce, are intended to enable member organizations to set individual privacy policies (where needed), and set minimum acceptable standards to protect the privacy of users. Members of the IAB will be required to establish (where needed), post, and conform to a privacy policy designed to protect the information that can be associated with an individual's personal identifiable information in an online or electronic advertising environment.

The full text of the IAB Privacy guidelines can be found at www.iab.net.

Founded in 1996, the IAB is the leading online advertising association with more than 300 active member companies. Its activities include evaluating and recommending standards and practices, fielding research to document the effectiveness of the online medium, and educating the advertising industry about the use of online advertising. Current membership includes companies that are actively engaged in the sales of Internet advertising, with associate membership including companies that support online advertising - interactive advertising agencies, measurement companies, research suppliers, technology suppliers, traffic companies, and other organizations from related industries. A global organization, IAB member countries include Belgium, Canada, France, germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. IAB is currently developing membership countries in Asia and Latin America, as well as other countries in Europe. The IAB and the Internet Local Advertising Commerce Association (ILAC) agreed to combine their organizations in July of 1998.

Contact:

Marla Nitke IAB
212-380-4714
[email protected]