Ad Groups Respond to FTC Behavioral Targeting Proposals

22 April 2008

WASHINGTON DC: US advertising trade bodies have put forward a set of self-regulation guidelines designed to placate watchdogs' concerns over targeted web advertising.

The coalition of 11 groups, which includes the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, the Magazine Publishers of America and the National Retail Federation, is in broad agreement with the Federal Trade Commission's view thatbehavioral ads must be regulated.
However, the industry feels the FTC proposals are too wide ranging and could stifle ecommerce.

The regulator has proposed a raft of privacy principles for online behavioral advertising which call for clear disclosure to consumers that data is being collected and for limits on how long information can be retained.

In response, the advertising coalition has countered with the following key points:

  • Self-regulation should not stand in the way of benefits that online advertising offers consumers, such as free content.
  • Regulation should be limited to true behavioral advertising, meaning information collected on the web to predict consumer preferences for receiving ads.
  • The principles should not provide choice for the collection of all information.
  • Data retention should fall within a reasonable security principle.
  • Flexible guidelines should be adopted where consumer consent is not required in all instances when changing privacy practices.
  • The existing legal and regulatory framework that applies to sensitive information restrictions should also apply to behavioral advertising.
  • Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff