IAB's Board of Directors Adopts Privacy Guidelines for Interactive Advertising
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced the release of new interactive advertising privacy guidelines that are designed to ensure users’ control over the use of personal information by interactive media and advertisers while at the same time guaranteeing continued improvement in the delivery of relevant marketing communications to consumers. The guidelines were approved by the IAB’s Board of Directors today at the start of “Ecosystem 2.0—Driving Growth in Digital Marketing,” the organization’s annual meeting, taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, February 24-26.
The privacy principles are high level concepts of consumer notice, choice and data security which will serve as a roadmap for all industry actors who collect and/or use data to deliver relevant ads online or via other platforms. The guidelines were developed over many months with the IAB Policy Development Task Force and Policy Council and will be submitted to the Federal Trade Commission before the end of February.
“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. “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.”
Rothenberg added that the IAB guidelines are more flexible than those suggested by the Federal Trade Commission in late 2007. “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. 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.”
“IAB’s principles are an important first step in the creation of stronger industry self regulatory programs,” said Dave Morgan, Executive Vice President, Global Advertising Strategy of AOL and Co-Chair of the Task Force that developed the principles. “We believe that all existing and future types of interactive advertising should fit within these criteria and we will move swiftly towards promulgating more granular best practices based on this document.”
IAB said its members will follow five basic privacy principles henceforward:
1. CONSUMERS SHOULD BE PROVIDED MEANINGFUL NOTICE ABOUT THE INFORMATION COLLECTED AND USED FOR INTERACTIVE ADVERTISING
All companies that gather and store information for interactive advertising purposes should explain their practices in a consumer-friendly manner. Many leading companies have long embraced this goal via privacy policies, other forms of notice, and education, and should continue to enhance those efforts to keep pace with marketplace developments.
In the online environment, consumers visiting a particular Web site should be provided meaningful notice of the types of individual information collected for interactive advertising purposes, the technologies employed to collect such information, and how such information is used, including that other companies operate on the site and may collect such information. In addition to providing notice through easily accessible links to privacy policies and similar disclosures, companies can use other strategies and techniques to further increase and enhance consumer education and awareness of information collection practices.
2. CONSUMERS SHOULD BE INFORMED OF THEIR CHOICES REGARDING INTERACTIVE ADVERTISING AND EMPOWERED TO EXERCISE THOSE CHOICES
Consumers should be given information about the choices they have concerning the collection and use of information for interactive advertising purposes. Businesses collecting or using information about individual consumers for interactive advertising purposes should provide choice, where appropriate, to that individual. Consumers also should receive relevant education regarding cross-industry opportunities to opt out of the collection or use of individual information or other methods to exercise choice.
3. BUSINESSES SHOULD IMPLEMENT APPROPRIATE INFORMATION SECURITY PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES
Any company that maintains information for purposes of interactive advertising should provide reasonable security for that data. Such protections should be based on the sensitivity of the data, the nature of a company’s business operations, the types of risks a company faces, and the reasonable protections available to a company. Companies should require that business partners who collect or use such data on the company’s behalf also adopt appropriate information security procedures.
4. BUSINESSES SHOULD BE RESPONSIVE AND ACCOUNTABLE TO CONSUMERS
Consumers should have a readily accessible means to express concerns and complaints regarding adherence to these principles, and businesses should respond appropriately.
5. COMPANIES SHOULD EDUCATE CONSUMERS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF INTERACTIVE ADVERTISING
Businesses that collect or use information about individual consumers for interactive advertising purposes should continue to enhance and communicate that value proposition to consumers.
List of the members companies of the IAB Public Policy Council:
ADTECH US, Inc.
Azoogle Ads, Inc.
Cablevision Advanced Systems
CNET Networks, Inc.
Cox Newspapers, Inc.
IAC Media & Advertising
Idearc Media Corp.’s SuperPages.com
Internet Broadcasting Systems
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
MediaFLO USA, Inc.
Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions (MSN)
Motive Interactive Inc
NBC Universal Digital Media
New York Times Digital
Range Online Media, Inc.
Revolution Health Group
Right Media Inc.
Walt Disney Internet Group
Weather Channel Interactive (Weather.com)