Commentary

IAB Preaches To Choir

As lawmakers continue to scrutinize online advertising, the Interactive Advertising Bureau said today that it has launched a new public policy blog.

"Here we'll be providing our members with the latest legislative developments on the state, federal and regulatory levels, as well as highlighting current topics, trends, developments, and events that are inhabiting the interactive advertising ecosystem -- and much like a 'real' ecosystem, it's often the small things that end-up blindsiding you," the IAB states.

The inaugural post links to a report examining the legality of Internet service provider-based behavioral targeting. Specifically, the paper questions whether the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits ISPs from selling data about subscribers' Web activity without their consent.

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Some lawmakers have said the answer is yes. So have some privacy advocates. In a 13-page report issued last year, the Center for Democracy & Technology said that not only does the law require consumers' consent, but that merely allowing people to opt out "would most likely not" suffice.

The two-page IAB paper equivocates, stating that the law's applicability to behavioral targeting "remains muddled at best."

But the report also offers one unequivocal conclusion -- one that many IAB members already hold -- that laws regulating the Web can't keep pace with technology. "As the last ten years has shown, by the time a new law is passed that attempts to regulate some nuance of the technology industry, the law is often outdated before the ink dries (or more appropriately, before it's available online)," the paper states.

1 comment about "IAB Preaches To Choir ".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, April 28, 2009 at 6:01 p.m.

    Being informed on legislative or policy issues allows me to determine when or if I need to contact my representatives and express opinions. Policy blogs and discussions help shape opinion and, therefore, policy. You don't know how powerful your individual contact with a legislator is until you do it (and, if your legislator doesn't have Facebook or some easy contact tool, make them get it).

    Instead of calling this "preaching to the choir," consider a term like, "mobilizing its constituency."

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