Last updated: September 20, 2010 - 8:36am
Online advertisers and technology companies must act "quickly and responsibly" to install new mechanisms for protecting consumers' privacy if they are to avoid regulation, the European digital commissioner said on Sept 17.
Members of the European Union are currently implementing the privacy and electronic communications directive, which sets out new rules for dealing with "cookies", software placed within web browsers to collect information about their surfing habits. Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, told a Brussels gathering of marketers that the industry should adopt four key principles of self-regulation to "enhance users' trust" in the online economy. These would include giving consumers notice of personalized ads, an "appropriate form of affirmation" from people to be targeted using cookies, and a "user friendly way" for consumers to make clear their choice. The commission's goal is to improve consumer protection from invasive targeted advertising, including illegal cookies which "respawn" when deleted and "creepy" ads which are too personal.
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