Web ad group launches privacy education campaign

A group of leading internet publishers and digital marketing services has launched an online campaign to educate consumers about how they are tracked and targeted for pitches on the web, reports the Associated Press. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), based in New York, unveiled its "Privacy Matters" web site on Dec. 3. The site explains how internet marketers track where people go and what they do online and then mine those data to serve up targeted ads. The practice, known as behavioral advertising, has raised concerns among privacy watchdogs and lawmakers in Congress. A number of IAB members, such as Yahoo, Google, and the New York Times Co., plan to run banner spots on their web pages linking back to the Privacy Matters site. The goal of the program, explained IAB Senior Vice President David Doty, is to describe "in plain English" how online advertising works. The new campaign is part of a broader self-regulatory push by the IAB and other advertising trade groups that want to head off federal regulation. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., is currently leading an effort to draft a bill that would impose broad new privacy obligations on web sites and online advertisers. (See "Congress weighs online privacy changes.")

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