Mike Zaneis: October 2010 Archives

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Recently, the European advertising community, lead by IAB Europe, publically condemned the “re-spawning” of cookies used in the practice of online behavioral advertising (OBA). We would like to recognize their leadership and take this opportunity to restate the U.S. advertising industry’s longstanding opposition to such practices.

There has been a recent spate of media coverage about the use of local shared objects, colloquially described as “flash cookies”, in the collection of data for the purpose of delivering behaviorally target advertisements to consumers. We have heard about advanced versions of such technologies, including Super, Ever, and Zombie Cookies. But whatever the name, one tenet of the industry remains clear, appropriate consumer notice and choice applies to all targeting technologies and techniques. This means that companies must always provide transparency to the consumer about their data collection and use practices and that third party OBA practices must empower consumers to exercise an effective choice.

Our industry has always endorsed technology neutrality in the application of best practices. IAB has long supported the Network Advertising Initiative’s mandatory principles which apply uniformly to all OBA practices, no matter the technology implementation. Similarly, the comprehensive new self regulatory program announced this week by the IAB and our partner trade associations program applies to data collection and use practices, regardless of the technologies and techniques employed.

Meeting consumers’ privacy expectations is a top priority for the interactive advertising industry and our obligations cannot be sidestepped by technological means. The industry will continue to condemn practices that diminish transparency or frustrate consumer choice.

We welcome discussion on this matter in the comments below.

Mike Zaneis is Vice President, Public Policy for the IAB.