Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principle No. 2: Transparency

Last month, Legal Bytes reported to you that the Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, in concert with the Council of Better Business Bureaus, released its Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principles. As reported, the major participants in the online advertising industry have proposed to apply these principles to their practices related to online behavioral advertising: “the collection of data from a particular computer or device regarding Web viewing behaviors over time and across non-Affiliate Web sites for the purpose of using such data to predict user preferences or interests to deliver advertising to that computer or device based on the preferences or interests inferred from such Web viewing behaviors.”

We promised to provide you with a bit more detail regarding each of these principles. We previously reported on Education, and today we summarize Transparency. As we go through each one, we’ll use the outline below to enable you to link to all the prior principles covered in Legal Bytes, while highlighting the one covered today. The seven enumerated principles are:

  • Education
  • Transparency
  • Consumer Control
  • Data Security
  • Material Changes
  • Sensitive Data
  • Accountability

The Transparency principle seeks clear and accessible consumer disclosures regarding the type of data collected and how the data will be used to conduct behavioral advertising. Because behavioral advertising is often conducted by third-party advertising networks that lease space on a website, the principle applies to both third-party entities collecting and/or using the data, and the websites from which such data is being collected. Under this principle, these parties would provide “enhanced notice” on the page where data is collected through links embedded in or around advertisements, or on the web page itself. Customers will have the ability to read these notices and use the information to enable themselves to take control over the use of their personal information, choosing whether they would like to permit their information to be used for online behavioral advertising purposes.

Thanks to Amy S. Mushahwar for her analysis. Stay tuned for summaries of each of the remaining principles.