If you’re interested in learning more about the policy debate surrounding behavioral advertising and privacy, check out there resources:
- Policy Post 14.12: A Primer on Behavioral Advertising July 31, 2008
A policy post on the practice of online behavioral advertising, involving the compilation of detailed information about an Internet userâ€™s online activities. That data, when collected, can be turned into detailed consumer profiles including articles read, web sites visited, and items purchased. Ad networks contract with web sites to determine what type of advertising shows up on a consumer’s web browser based on those profiles.
- Policy Post 14.15: Online Behavioral Advertising: Discussing the ISP-Ad Network Model September 18, 2008
This policy post takes a closer look at the privacy concerns raised by the ISP-ad network partnership model within the online behavioral advertising field. The ISP-ad network model of behavioral advertising may violate federal law if it deployed without express consent of subscribers.
- Testimony of Leslie Harris on The Privacy Implications of Online Advertising July 9, 2008
Testimony of Alissa Cooper on What Your Broadband Provider Knows About Your Web Use: Deep Packet Inspection and Communications Laws and PoliciesJuly 17, 2008
CDT testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee and House Telecom Subcommittee regarding the privacy implications of online advertising. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the growing amount of personal data being collected by online advertising practices, but that they are ill-equipped to take steps to protect their privacy. The emerging advertising model partnering ISPs with ad networks brings new legal complexities and privacy risks to the e-commerce equation, and we hope that Congress would take a comprehensive look at online advertising practices. This testimony makes several recommendations for designing policies and laws that insure consumer privacy and instill trust in the electronic marketplace.
- CDT comments regarding the FTC Town Hall Meeting on Behavioral Advertising, Ehavioral Advertising: Tracking, Targeting, and Technology October 19, 2007
- Comments of CDT and others in response to the FTC Staff Statement "Online Behavioral Advertising: Moving the Discussion Forward to Possible Self-Regulatory Principles" April 11, 2008
The Federal Trade Commission’s proposed behavioral advertising principles aren’t strong enough on their own to adequately protect consumers, according to comments filed jointly today by CDT, Consumer Action and Privacy Activism. Although the principles represent a solid first step in the process, protecting consumer privacy interests in this space will require a rigorous mix of self-regulation, enforcement of existing law, and the passage of new general privacy law. The comments include CDT’s finding that there are several practices of concern occurring on the Internet today that remain unaddressed by current self-regulation. Based on this research and other industry developments, CDT, Consumer Action, and Privacy Activism recommend ways for the FTC to bolster several of its proposed principles. The groups also urge the Commission to explain how it will ensure industry compliance with the principles.
- Comments of CDT in regards to the FTC Town Hall, "Ehavioral Advertising: Tracking, Targeting, and Technology" October 19, 2007
CDT comments to the FTC advocating that consumer protections for behavioral advertising can be informed by existing FTC policy on spyware. By conceptualizing behavioral advertising in light of work that the FTC has already done, comprehensive privacy protections can be applied to one of the practices that underlies both spyware and behavioral advertising â€“ the tracking of usersâ€™ Internet activity without proper user control. The FTC has already laid the groundwork to bring our inadequate policies for protecting privacy in behavioral advertising up to the level that consumers deserve.
- CDT proposal for a Do Not Track list, and a graphic of the proposed operation of the Do Not Track List October 31, 2007
CDT joined with a coalition of privacy advocates to recommend an ambitious set of proposals intended to give consumers greater control over their personal data and to offset the impact of behavioral tracking. Included in the recommendations is a call to create a national "Do Not Track List" that would provide consumers with a simple tool for opting out of behavioral tracking.
- CDT comments regarding the Network Advertising Initiativeâ€™s Self-Regulatory Code of Conduct for Online Behavioral Advertising June 12, 2008
CDT concludes that The Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) should consider major revisions to its proposed privacy guidelines for online behavioral networks. CDT viewed the original NAI guidelines– developed in 2000–as a good first step; however, problems with the original version and the proposed update have left major gaps in the protection of consumer privacy online, even as data collection for online advertising proliferates. In addition to suggesting major changes, CDT urged the NAI to institute a two-year review cycle for its guidelines.
- A selection of CDT PolicyBeta blog posts on behavioral advertising:
- Backing Down on Behavioral Advertising October 13th, 2008
- AT&T, Verizon Back Opt-In Approach for Behavioral Advertising September 25th, 2008
- What to Keep an Ear Out For at the Next Behavioral Advertising Hearing September 22nd, 2008
- Embarq Response on Behavioral Advertising Comes Up Short July 24th, 2008
- ISP Involvement in Behavioral Advertising Getting More Attention July 16th, 2008
- Charter-ing a New Course in Behavioral Targeting May 16th, 2008
- Consumer (Dis)Comfort With Online Tracking March 28th, 2008
- User Tracking and Targeting Coming to an ISP Near You? Not So Fast. March 11th, 2008
- Do Not Track. No, Seriously. November 8th, 2007
- FTC Tracking and Targeting Town Hall – Take One November 1st, 2007
- Dispelling "Do Not Track" Myths October 31st, 2007
- Many Questions Remain on Behavioral Targeting May 4th, 2007