Nearly missed in the long Fourth of July holiday weekend was the announcement of "behavioral advertising" standards by a coalition of industry trade groups. These standards are in response to the FTC's public statements that regulation would soon follow if industry did not step up.
The standards have now been released and are as follows:
The Education Principle calls for participation in efforts to inform individuals and businesses about online behavioral advertising. The industry intends, in a major educational campaign involving over 500 million ad impressions over the next 18 months.
The Transparency Principle calls for clearer and easily accessible disclosures about data collection and use practices. The result will be a new notice on the page where data is collected and will occur via links embedded in or around advertisements, or on the Web page itself.
The Consumer Control Principle expands the consumer's ability to opt-out of data collection. The opt-out will occur via a link on the page where data is collected. This principle also requires service providers such as Internet access providers and desktop application software companies to obtain consent of users before engaging in online behavioral advertising.
The Data Security Principle calls for reasonable security and limited retention of data.
The Material Changes Principle calls for the acquisition of consent for any material change to data collection and use policies as well as practices to data collected prior to any change.
The Sensitive Data Principle requires parental consent for consumers known to be under 13 on child-directed Web sites. This Principle also calls for heightened protections to certain health and financial data when attributable to a specific individual.
The Accountability Principle calls for the development of programs to monitor and report uncorrected non-compliance to appropriate government agencies. The Council of Better Business Bureaus and Direct Marketing Association will work cooperatively to establish accountability mechanisms under the Principles.