Online advertising ‘does not compromise privacy’

18 Nov Online advertising ‘does not compromise privacy’

Internet Advertising Bureau, UK, November 18, 2008
After a lively debate in a packed Grand Committee Room at the House of Commons last night, the Parliamentary Debating Group and assembled crowd voted to oppose the motion “online advertising compromises privacy”. David Heath, MP for Somerton and Frome and recently appointed leader of the Liberal Democrat’s Commission on Privacy, chaired the debate, which was sponsored by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK. Speaking in favour of the motion were Anne Bevitt, partner at Morrison Foerster and Becky Hogge, executive director at the Open Rights Group UK. Speaking against were Andrew Walmsley, co-founder of digital agency i-level and Jeremy Mason, managing director European operations, Revenue Science. Key issues such as behavioural targeting and the use of cookies versus the societal benefits of ad-funded content were debated, with representatives from some of the major players in the internet advertising industry – such as Google and Yahoo! – contributing from the floor. Solicitor Ann Bevitt opened by explaining that “there is no legal definition of privacy”. Bevitt went on to outline some basic rules that should be followed in the context of online privacy. Bevitt emphasised the need for ‘consent’ between the advertiser and the consumer, before going on to argue that consumers should have the right to turn to the Human Rights Act Article 8 for pretection. “For my personal data to be used without my permission is a breach of my personal privacy,” she concluded.