Association of online publishers Helping media owners build better digital business

PPA defends cookies in OFT behavioural advertising review

The use of cookies to enable more relevant online advertising should not be impaired by unnecessary regulation, PPA has said.

In its response to the Office of Fair Trading market study on advertising and pricing, PPA maintained that online behavioural advertising ("OBA"), also known as behavioural targeting, is crucial for publishers to be able to serve relevant advertising to consumers.

OBA also provides greater value to advertisers and is an important factor in the generation of revenues that support quality online content and services.
While some data protection concerns have been raised in relation to OBA, PPA underlined the fact that much behavioural advertising using cookies does not involve the use of personal data.

Where cookies are capable of being linked to an individual user, the data subject is then safeguarded by various regulations, including the Data Protection Act 1998 and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

PPA added that consumers should continue to be informed about the use of cookies and the ability to regulate the acceptance, use and deletion of cookies via web browsers. However, any suggestion of introducing an opt-in regime - requiring prior consent on the part of users - would be disproportionate and damaging for business and would ruin a users' web surfing experience.

PPA legal director David Hyams said: “PPA is interested in working with the OFT to ensure that self-regulation is sufficient to protect consumers’ interests while at the same time not stifling business, innovation and consumers’ experience of the internet.”

Members can read the response in full. For more information contact David Hyams or James Evans.

Join the AOP group on LinkedIn - open for all Members to join
Subscribe to AOP's e-newsletter.