ASA set to police behavioural ads

Behavioural ads will fall under UK advertising rules from early next year, with the Advertising Standards Authority charged with enforcing new rules to ensure consumers can control how their browsing information is collected and used.
The rules come into effect on February 4 2013, and will require ad networks delivering ads to web users using online behavioural advertising (OBA) to make this clear to consumers.
Most ad networks are likely to follow the self-regulatory code by displaying an interactive icon in the corner of the ad, which when clicked upon will provide further information about the practice.
They must also provide an opt-out tool to prevent web viewing behaviour data being collected and used for OBA.
Companies which fail to do so face three possible sanctions: the ASA could notify the ad network’s other clients of its non-compliance; it could remove the trading seal of approval that signifies compliance with the EU Industry Framework, and finally it could rescind its licence to use the single European icon to provide notice. This would make it virtually impossible for the ad network to continue to offer OBA.
The Committee of Advertising Practice, which has ultimate responsibility for the new rules, says it would take a progressive approach when using these sanctions with the aim that ad networks will agree to comply before such action is necessary.
CAP chairman James Best added: “The ASA’s regulation of OBA will bolster consumers’ ongoing trust in how data around their web viewing behaviour is collected by notifying and then enabling them to exercise choice over receiving such ads.”

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