DMA Politically Direct (Spring 2008): DMA Leads Efforts Against 'Do Not Track' Proposal
May 16, 2008 — Privacy protection advocates continue to press the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a “Do Not Track” list that would prevent online advertisers from monitoring the habits of website users.
Advocates say the measure is designed to protect the privacy of consumers who don't want marketers to monitor the sites they visit and deliver relevant online advertisements based on their interests. The increased attention to online marketing and advertising practices has translated into greater scrutiny by Congress and federal agencies.
A vigorous advocate for self-regulation in the consumer privacy arena, DMA remains strongly opposed to the creation of a Do Not Track list.
Following the FTC’s issuance on December 20, 2007, of a proposal entitled “Behavioral Advertising: Moving the Discussion Forward to Possible Self-Regulatory Principles,” DMA led a coalition of leading trade associations that represent the advertising, marketing, financial services, retail, and Internet industries. The coalition spoke as one voice on this important issue.
In addition to filing its own individual comments with the FTC on the proposed principles in April, DMA’s coalition filed joint comments with the FTC also.
In addition to DMA, the associations represented in the coalition are the American Advertising Federation, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, Consumer Bankers Association, Electronic Retailing Association, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Magazine Publishers of America, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The FTC has stated that the purpose of their proposal is “to encourage more meaningful and enforceable self-regulation to address the privacy concerns raised with respect to behavioral advertising.” The FTC’s proposed principles encourage greater transparency and consumer control regarding privacy issues.
For decades, DMA has been at the forefront of self-regulation regarding offline and online privacy issues, and many of the issues being considered in connection with the FTC’s self-regulatory principles already exist in DMA’s extensive self-regulatory programs.
Within its own comments, DMA argued that the adoption of any potential principles in this area should be carefully considered in the context of the current self-regulatory and technological landscape to ensure that they address any shortcomings in these areas — and real harms or concerns — so as not to unnecessarily prohibit important consumer benefits and impede the Internet’s growth.
While affirming its collective belief that self-regulation and leading business practices comprise the most effective framework to protect consumers and further innovation in the area of privacy and behavioral advertising, the coalition cited specific shortcomings in the FTC’s proposed principles.
DMA and the coalition will continue to review, monitor, and, if needed, expand their own extensive self-regulatory principles. They also will participate with the FTC on any future steps if the Commission deems them necessary.
# # #
back to top