2010 Survival Guide: Regulators

FTR Sidebar- 2010 Survival Guide: RegulatorsRespect the boundaries

Madison Avenue will increasingly aim to shape policies regarding privacy. The American Association of Advertising Agencies recently joined with the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Association of National Advertisers and Direct Marketing Association to develop a set of industry self-regulatory standards. Also in 2009, WPP/Kantar named its first chief privacy officer and an Omnicom unit recruited a privacy counsel. Look for others to follow suit.

Congress is expected to consider a proposal for new legislation regarding online behavioral targeting and privacy. Whether such a measure passes or not, the mere introduction of a bill could drive change. "When a draft comes out, if it's done well, it will set a bar," says Jules Polonetsky co-chair and director of the think tank Future of Privacy Forum.

The draft bill is expected to encourage Web companies to give users access to their online profiles, as do companies like Google and BlueKai. Of course, the meaning of "access" remains in play. It could simply require companies to allow people to view the broad interest categories associated with their Web-surfing activity, or could mean allowing people to see that information coupled with a list of sites visited. Or the measure could require companies to give users control over their profiles.

Opt-outs will become more stable. The Network Advertising Initiative recently created a tool that helps consumers permanently preserve their opt-out preferences. Google likewise launched a browser plug-in that provides for permanent opt-outs. Firefox offers TACO (Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out), which stops behavioral advertising by 90 different companies.

But Web companies are already figuring out how to circumvent opt-outs. Researchers at the UC Berkeley School of Law recently reported that some sites are currently using Flash cookies to recreate deleted HTML cookies.

Adobe will make it easier to delete Flash cookies.

The Federal Communications Commission will likely redefine how it measures media concentration as anti-trust becomes less of an issue in a Web environment filled with competitive alternatives. Still, the Obama administration will likely intensify deal scrutiny.

Regulatory approval of Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, to take a majority stake in media conglomerate NBC Universal, will invite major distributors to consider vertical integration and follow suit.

New challenges to the FCC's plans to assure net neutrality on the Web: Legislation from U.S. Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.) would protect broadband providers' rights to selectively block or slow Internet content and applications.

Google will continue to push the envelope
with plans to create a digital library as the u.s. Justice Department mediates restitution agreements with authors and publishers.
1 comment about "2010 Survival Guide: Regulators ".
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  1. Mark Zagorski from eXelate, December 1, 2009 at 5:52 p.m.

    A quick note --

    eXelate also provides total consumer privacy control and transparency (we actually launched it before Google did) via our consumer preference manager.

    This tool is also available as a widget for our data partners. You can check out an example at


    Mark Zagorski

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