FTC Releases Report on Online Behavioral Advertising Principles

The FTC has issued a staff report revising its self-regulatory principles for online behavioral advertising.  The report takes into consideration the sixty-three comments the Commission received from various stakeholders, including the advertising industry, and provides further guidance as to the applicability and scope of the principles. 

The FTC issued its draft principles in December 2007 in response to a number of concerns raised at a townhall meeting on behavioral advertising.  The draft principles focused on transparency and consumer control, reasonable security of consumer data, affirmative express consent for material changes to existing privacy promises, and affirmative express consent to (or a prohibition against) using sensitive data for behavioral advertising.  ANA, along with eleven other trade groups, responded to the FTC's request for comments on the draft principles, arguing in favor of industry self-regulation to address consumer privacy concerns.   

The report mentions the ongoing effort by the advertising industry to develop an effective self-regulatory program, and indicates that the FTC will evaluate the effectiveness of self-regulation in the coming year.  However, Commissioner Jon Leibowitz, in a concurring statement, urged industry to "do a better job of meaningful, rigorous self-regulation, or it will certainly invite legislation by Congress and a more regulatory approach" by the FTC. 

We will most likely provide comments to the FTC on the revised guidelines.  We would greatly appreciate your input.  It would be very helpful if you would review the FTC draft and submit any comments that you may have to us.

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Jaffe in ANA's Washington office at 202-296-2359 or at djaffe@ana.net.