Behavioral Marketing Group Urge for New Standards

Dennis Faas's picture

New standards concerning how businesses collect, store and use consumer data for advertising are being developed by a new advocacy group called "The Future of Privacy Forum."

The group is comprised of privacy scholars, lawyers, and corporate officials and will be led by Jules Polonetsky, who was recently  in charge of AOL's privacy policy until earlier this month, and Chris Wolf, a privacy lawyer.

The organization is sponsored by AT&T and aims to develop ways to give consumers more control over how personal information is used for behavioral-targeted advertising.  (Source:

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are already facing lawsuits due to tracking consumers' online habits in order to tailor ads allegedly relevant to their interests.

President-elect Barack Obama said he will appoint the first chief technology officer who may be charged with making government data more transparent while protecting citizens' privacy. The Future of Privacy Forum wants to work with the government on these issues.

For instance, the group may encourage companies to allow consumers to opt into tracking practices, instead of the typical method of requiring customers to opt out.

With the economy tightening, advertisers are looking increasingly more to data to decide which marketing campaigns will be cut and which will survive. According to Mr. Polonetsky, there is a rush to make deeper decisions that will impact privacy. The Future of Privacy Forum will add one more voice to the debate.

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