European Commission Voices Concerns over Behavioral Targeting… Again

clickz_ukandeu.gifThe European Commission has once again expressed concerns over the use of behavioral targeting technologies in Europe, and reinforced its intentions to intervene if it feels the industry is incapable of regulating itself effectively.

Speaking at a lunch debate on the future of the Internet in Brussels on Tuesday, Viviane Reding, commissioner for information, society and media, said concerns about targeted advertising are being “repeatedly mentioned to the Commission these days,” and that the Commission was “closely monitoring” the practice to ensure respect for users’ privacy rights.

“European privacy rules are crystal clear: a person’s information can only be used with their prior consent. Transparency and choice are key words in this debate… I will not shy away from taking action where an EU country falls short of this duty,” she repeatedly expressed concerns over behavioral targeting and the collection of user data for advertising purposes. Meanwhile, the U.K. government’s consumer protection body, the Office of Fair Trading, has also announced an investigation into the practice.

Nick Stringer, the IAB U.K.’s head of regulatory affairs, maintains that the IAB’s work in regulating the space is being taken seriously by government departments, but the fact that its members collect and use data in varying ways, and in conjunction with different business models, suggests its ability to regulate the practice in a way deemed fit by the Commission could be hampered.

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