Markey: Behavioral Ad Protections Needed For Kids

    April 11, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Online advertisers using behavioral targeting to find their audience attracted the attention of the Federal Trade Commission, who have called for principles of self-regulation for that type of marketing.

Protecting consumers, especially younger ones, from potentially over-aggressive advertisers means following that audience from media outlet to media outlet. Ads in magazines and on television used to reach the audiences that the Internet touches today.

Make no mistake about it: marketers love younger consumers. They have discretionary income not tied up in the debts of 30-something and up adults. Websites catering to kids, or having them as a potential part of their audience, must seek parental permission for youngsters under 13, per the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA.)

Major online industry events like Google’s DoubleClick acquisition, and Microsoft’s overtures toward purchasing Yahoo, prompted a renewed FTC interest in online privacy. Technology for marketing to people based on behaviors advanced greatly over the past few years, and some consider its growth and adoption something to watch.

FTC asked for input from the big online advertising firms, to which Microsoft responded with a proposal for a five-tiered framework of privacy protection.

On Capitol Hill, the matter drew the attention of House member Ed Markey (D-MA), who released a statement in support of the FTC’s move toward supporting self-regulation principles for advertisers:

The FTC has appropriately recognized the pressing need for updated online privacy protections for children that reflect the sophisticated data collection and behavioral targeting practices now used widely across the Internet.

Without stronger protections, including a prohibition on collecting data on children