April 7, 2011 Michael Bickerton
The New York Times reported in October that an AD Group consisting of trade organizations including, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau and support of the Council of Better Business Bureaus have developed a privacy program of self-regulation.
An icon called the Advertising Option Icon symbolizes the program. The program details the principles of conducting online behavioural advertising. The idea is that users can click on the icon and get an explanation of why they are seeing this icon as well having the option of opting out. Simple really.
However, not everyone is convinced that self-regulation is the way to go. Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum located in California is convinced that the Government should be responsible for setting up privacy rules for the advertising industry. Reading the article, I was quite clear that even those in the advertising industry were not acting in unison with the guidelines. Some considered not show any ads at all after opting out while others thought it would be suitable to serve standard ads after a user opt out.
Clearly, this debate is just getting going. Based on what I’ve seen in the financial and credit card industries Government intervention and legislation is required. The logo is visible in this article. I’ve yet to see this icon used. Let me know if you do and send me a link.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, Toronto, April 2011