FTC OKs Self-Regulation Program for Online Behavioral Advertising


On August 15, the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition issued an advisory opinion letter stating that it has "no present intention to challenge" the Council of Better Business Bureaus' (CBBB) proposed accountability program, which was expected by most in the industry. The accountability program was formed to hold companies engaged in online behavioral advertising accountable for compliance with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising ("Principles"), which were released by the FTC in July 2009. In 2009, Reed Smith issued an Alert explaining the principles that is available here (see full alert below for link).

Likewise in 2010, the Principles were further supplemented through voluntary industry efforts of the Digital Advertising Alliance (an alliance of trade associations consisting of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, American Advertising Federation, Association of National Advertisers, Better Business Bureau, Direct Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising Bureau, and Network Advertising Initiative).

The Principles aim to provide consumers with more control and transparency about how their information is collected, used, and transferred for online behavioral advertising purposes. In addition, the Principles call for appropriate data security measures, the limited retention of data, consent for material changes in data policies, and the limited collection of information from children under 13, and some financial and health data. According to the CBBB, the Principles are designed to "address consumer concerns about the use of personal information and interest based advertising while preserving the innovative and robust advertising that supports the vast array of free online content and the ability to deliver relevant advertising to consumers."

Please see full alert below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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