Telecom firms support BT ads opt-out
In a hearing last week before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about broadband providers and consumer privacy, three leading telecommunications providers committed to gaining consumers' consent before engaging in online targeted advertising.
AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon Communications advocated creating a framework to provide consumers an opportunity to consent to receive online targeted ads and protect their privacy. According to Peter Stern, chief strategy officer at Time Warner Cable, such a framework would only work if it is universally adopted by all providers of targeted online advertising, including ad networks, application providers and ISPs. The framework would cover elements such as transparency, consumer control, privacy protection and consumer value.
“Setting proper policy in this area will be crucial to a healthy and growing Internet ecosystem,” said Dorothy Atwood, senior VP public policy and chief privacy officer at AT&T Services Inc., during the hearing.
All three companies were careful to differentiate between delivering ads to consumers based on their behavior on an individual Web site — which was referred to as relevant advertising and not targeted online advertising — and the practice of tracking a consumer's Web browsing and search activities to develop a unique profile to deliver ads.