Some of the biggest web publishers on the planet have signed up to AdChoices, a new EU Framework that allows consumers to disable cookies. What will happen to web firms who don’t sign up to AdChoices by June 30 this year? Here, Daniel Cooney, country manager with Crim Tan explains what it’s all about and why it’s in the news again.
1: What is AdChoices and how did it come about?
2: Why is it in the news again?
Advertisers and ad networks that signed up to the EU Framework have committed to self-certify their compliance with the Framework by 30 June 2012. This includes carrying the icon on advertising. This deadline and the increased visibility of icons on ads has resulted in a lot more press coverage of online privacy and cookies.
3: What will happen if web firms don’t sign up and display the logo?
That remains to be seen. We understand that the Department of Justice will take a practical and proportionate approach to enforcing these rules where organisations are making the effort to comply with the ePrivacy Directive. Currently the EU framework and the AdChoices icon are the best defense if a web user were to complain about a company placing cookies on their PC. The alternative is to get an opt-in before you drop a cookie – which is often impractical and could result in lot of web sites shutting down – not to mention the irritation and inconvenience it would cause to web users.
4: Do you think consumers care about this issue or is it just an industry under scrutiny from the EU?
Lots of research has been done on online advertising, cookies and privacy recently, and it all points to the fact that the majority of consumers want more information and some control over how companies use data to serve online advertising. This means the industry needs to strike a balance between providing clear information and control to empower consumers, while enabling relevant advertising to help fund the quality content and services that they demand.
5: What do you and the others who have signed up hope to achieve by implementing AdChoices?
Through our actions resulting from the EU Framework we hope that EU governments across Europe and the European Commission will recognise that the advertising industry respects the privacy of web users and will feel confident that industry self-regulation is sufficient to protect them. We believe that this initiative demonstrates that we are acting in an appropriate and responsible way to ensure users understand exactly how their data is being used and how they can do something to prevent its use if they choose.