Saturday, September 27, 2008

Verzion, AT&T agree not to track users; NAI has more flexible position

Internet users should be aware of the political and “moral” positions taken by the Network Advertising Initiative, or NAI, A particular sentence on its home page summarizes its postion: “What makes Internet advertising effective is the use of technologies that allow advertising networks to make inferences about consumer tastes and provide relevant content.”

NAI also has a byline “helping you protect your privacy online” and a link that explains its positions on consumer rights and on the correct use of cookies and web beacons. It also has a red link for “Consumer opt-out” of targeted advertising
delivered by NAI member ad networks. However NAI’s best practices do not include a requirement for “opt-in” style consumer consent.

The concept is important because of a story in the Friday Sept. 26 Washington Post, “AT&T, Verizon To Refrain From Tracking Users Online: Firms pledge to get consent before targeting ads to consumers,” by Peter Whoriskey, Business page D2, link here. Other companies are taking a “wait and see” approach, and maintain they need to see a consistent and quasi-mandatory industry practice on consumer notification or consent

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