A coalition of eight of the leading advertising industry trade associations in Canada today announced a framework for industry self-regulation regarding Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) in Canada. The initiative, which is similar to those adopted by groups in the US, Europe and Australia, is the culmination of over 2 years of work; including regular submissions, dialogue, research and status updates to The Office Of The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada (OPC). Although the programme will be coordinated by IAB Canada (Interactive Advertising Bureau), it is also fully-supported by the Members of the following industry associations:
- Advertising Standards Canada (ASC)
- L’Association des agences de publicité du Québec (AAPQ)
- The Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA)
- The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA)
- The Canadian Media Directors’ Council (CMDC)
- Le Conseil des directeurs médias du Québec (CDMQ)
- Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA)
- The Interactive Advertising Bureau Of Canada (IAB Canada)
The framework includes the following four elements:
Transparency – Providing Consumers with immediate notice when the Websites that they are visiting are supplying them with Online Behavioural Advertising. This would be done via an “icon” placed on the Online Behavioural Ads themselves/or in other prominent areas on the Websites being visited.
Education – Providing Consumers with one-click access to clear and concise Web-based educational information about Online Behavioural Advertising, so that Consumers can understand the nature of these practices; how and when their privacy is protected within various targeted advertising processes; and to learn how to protect themselves in areas on the Internet which represent security risks to their privacy.
Choice – Consumers can already control cookies via altering their Web browser’s preferences — essentially determining whether or not an individual Publisher’s Website, Ad Network or other 3rd-party service can collect and record information about their Websurfing habits/or interactions with Online ads.
The industry’s self-regulatory initiative goes a step further, by providing Consumers who may not be familiar with how to change their browser’s security settings, with one-click access for a full opt-out of Online Behavioural Advertising, should they desire to do so. While many Online Publishers and Ad Networks already provide such an opt-out option, the coordinated initiative will extend this practice across the Canadian Online advertising industry.
Accountability – An accountability program that ensures that Consumers’ opt-out of preferences are retained over the long-term is being developed utilizing a variety of providers, as well as an independent consumer complaint mechanism in consultation with Advertising Standards Canada.
“With Canada’s framework now finalized, the scope of the self-regulatory initiative regarding Online Behavioural Advertising is now truly global in nature,” says Paula Gignac, President, IAB Canada. “Canadian Online Publishers and Ad Networks are moving forward within the framework even as we speak, and in fact, because so many of IAB Canada’s Members also have operations in the US and across the globe, many are already well on their way to completing all four steps within the process.”
Bob Reaume, Vice President, Policy & Research, Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) confirms the readiness of Advertisers to implement their part of the plan: “We’re pleased to see the work of the all-industry group ready to go forward, as this initiative enhances Advertisers’ commitment to advertise responsibly in all media.”
“Agencies are also working to ready clients for the self-regulatory program,” notes Arthur Fleischmann, CEO of John St. and Chair of the ICA’s Interactive Committee. “The ICA and its Member Agencies endorse and strongly support the initiative, and are committed to ensuring that the OBA self-regulatory framework is rigorously delivered in Canada.”