WFA adopts Global Principles for online behavioral advertising


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Brussels, 3 July 2009: The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has adopted a set of Global Principles for self-regulation of online behavioral advertising. These Principles set out the common basis on which advertisers will seek to engage industry partners worldwide in order to develop self-regulatory schemes for online behavioral advertising.

The Global Principles are based on the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising published by WFA's U.S. member, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), in partnership with the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB).

Said Stephan Loerke, WFA Managing Director: "We congratulate the ANA and its partners in the U.S. on their leadership in setting the future industry-wide standards for responsible practices in online behavioral advertising. The importance of this initiative is not limited to the U.S. Digital is global: we will seek to apply the Global Principles wherever we work with our industry partners in developing self-regulation of online behavioral advertising at market level."

The Global Principles
The Education Principle calls for industry to participate in efforts to educate consumers and businesses about online behavioral advertising.

The Transparency Principle requires clear disclosure and information for consumers about data collection and use practices associated with online behavioral advertising. This Principle applies to entities collecting and using data for online behavioral advertising and to the Web sites from which such data is being collected and used by third parties.

The Consumer Control Principle calls for mechanisms that will enable users of Web sites at which data is collected for online behavioral advertising purposes to choose whether data is collected and used or transferred to a non-affiliate for such purposes. The choice should be provided by the third party entities collecting and using data for online behavioral advertising. "Service providers"[1] engaged in online behavioral advertising should provide additional notice regarding the online behavioral advertising that occurs by use of their services, obtain the consent of users before engaging in online behavioral advertising, and take steps to de-identify the data used for such purposes.

The Data Security Principle requires entities to provide reasonable security for, and limited retention of, data collected and used for online behavioral advertising purposes.

The Material Changes Principle directs entities to obtain consent before applying any change to their online behavioral advertising data collection and use policy that is less restrictive to data collected prior to such material change.

The Sensitive Data Principle recognizes that certain data collected and used for online behavioral advertising purposes merits different treatment. In particular, it applies heightened protection for children's data. Companies should not engage in Online Behavioral Advertising directed to children they have actual knowledge are under the age of 13 except if they have obtained prior verifiable parental consent.

The Accountability Principle calls upon entities representing the wide range of actors in the online behavioral advertising ecosystem to develop and implement policies and programs to help ensure that all entities engaged in online behavioral advertising bring their activities into compliance with these Principles.

Scope and Application
The Global Principles apply to online behavioral advertising, defined as the collection of data online from a particular computer or device regarding Web viewing behaviors over time and across non-affiliate Web sites for the purpose of using such data to predict user preferences or interests to deliver advertising to that computer or device based on the preferences or interests inferred from such Web viewing behaviors.

The Global Principles do not apply to a Web site's collection of viewing behavior solely for its own uses. Contextual advertising also is not covered by the Global Principles as it delivers advertisements based on the content of a Web page, a search query, or a user's contemporaneous behavior on the Web site.

The Global Principles are not a code of conduct for individual companies. Rather, they set out the common basis on which advertisers worldwide will engage their industry partners in order to seek to develop national self-regulatory schemes for online behavioral advertising that reflect the local legal and regulatory frameworks.

For more information, please contact Malte Lohan:

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