Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principle No. 5: Material Changes

Here is the fifth in our installments of summarizing the seven principles contained in the Self-Regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising Principles released by 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, For reference, the seven enumerated principles are:

The Material Changes principle requires an organization engaged in behavioral advertising to obtain consent before applying any material changes to its existing online behavioral advertising policies and practices – specifically, to the data collection-and-use policies and practices that apply to data collected prior to the effective date of any material change to these policies and practices.

This principle also makes it clear that a change in policy or practice that would result in less data collection or more restrictive use of the data (i.e., less or more restrictive use of the data than existing usage) is NOT a material change that would require prior consent. This makes sense considering that the purpose of the principle, when coupled with Transparency and Consumer Control, is not to merely give consumers an absolute right to consent or to reject any and all changes, but only those that would broaden, deepen or alter in an expansive or materially different manner, the existing collection-and-use practices of the organization. If a change would result in less data being collected or more constrained use of the data being collected, a consumer would likely be notified of the change, but consent would not be required.

Legal Bytes will be bringing you a summary of the remaining two principles in the next week. And now, as always, if you have any questions or need help, please feel free to contact me or any of the Rimon attorneys with whom you regularly work.