The digital advertising industry has been called to account over its opposition to leading web browsers – including Microsoft and Mozilla – updating their software to come with a ‘do-not-track’ feature already turned on.
Speaking at this week’s ISBA conference, Robert Madelin, director general of the European Commission’s digital unit (DG Connect), argued that the move is a real opportunity to those who want to capture data to educate consumers and gain their trust.
Microsoft and Mozilla have both ignored pleas by many of the world’s top advertising networks to change their do-not-track settings, amid claims that the move will lead to a scatter-gun approach to digital marketing.
Madelin underlined the need for more research into the true impact of online behavioural advertising, to allay ‘clunky, pessimistic assumptions’, which he likened to those that once surrounded subliminal cinema advertising.
Acknowledging the rapid growth predicted for digital communications, Madelin pointed to technology as a means to circumvent the need for prescriptive regulation. He said that by allowing commercial messages to be kept separate from more detailed information about, for example, a product’s environmental performance, it would remove some of the need to drive regulation.
Madelin also explained that he would be watching the progress of the proposed Data Protection Regulation ‘very closely’, especially with regards to pseudonymous data – a category of data which does not identify the individual.
He also underlined the role that the creative industries and advertisers can play in helping drive the economy.
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