Self-regulation is still key to behavioral targeting: FTC

Share this article:

Responding to industry concerns, the Federal Trade Commission has revised its principles to include a less restrictive stance on behavioral targeting, as long as consumer information collected is protected.

“The key issue is the concern that online advertisers best protect consumer privacy while collecting information about their online activities,” said Pedar Magee, senior staff attorney at the FTC.

The new regulations allow more leniency in both behavioral and contextual advertis­ing. For example, a brand can use targeting on its own sites as long as the personal infor­mation of consumers is protected. Contextual advertising does not collect data over time, and is therefore permitted.

The regulation expanded what qualifies as personally identifiable data to any “infor­mation that could reasonably be associated with a particular consumer or computer or other device,” such as an IP address.

“The distinction between these two types of information has continually blurred,” said Magee. “If you can reasonably identify a person based on their personal computer or device, then these principles should apply.”

While impressed with the overall industry response to regulations so far, Chad Little, CEO of retargeting company Fetchback, explained, “There is no room for compla­cency. The industry should be prepared for regulation unless we get our act together.”

In the coming year, FTC staff will evalu­ate self-regulatory programs and conduct investigations, where appropriate.

The revisions have drawn some criticism from at least one industry watchdog, which is now looking to Congress to legislate.

“I think that the time for self-regulation had passed,” said Jeff Chester, executive director at the Center for Digital Democ­racy. “People no longer have confidence that the FTC will be able to quickly protect consumers who rely on the Internet for critical transactions, such as those involving health and finance.”

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

Featured Listings

More in Digital Marketing

Hallmark Takes Baby Steps to a New Brand

Hallmark Takes Baby Steps to a New Brand

The company relied on digital to get its growing children's apparel brand off of the ground.

One Third of Americans' Social Media Time Is Spent on Facebook

One Third of Americans' Social Media Time Is ...

Pandora, meanwhile, attracts more user time but far fewer digital advertisng dollars, says a study.

News Corp. Chief Brands Google an 'Unaccountable Bureaucracy'

News Corp. Chief Brands Google an 'Unaccountable Bureaucracy'

Robert Thomson warns the EU that an antitrust deal with Google will lead to a decrease in competitive options for marketers and an increase in piracy.