EP wants warning regarding the misleading and intrusive online ads

Advertising, Digital & Media

European Parliament adopted a resolution in which states that consumers should be warned about intrusive and misleading new advertising techniques such as internet ads tailored to fit individuals. The resolution also calls for better protection of vulnerable consumers and emphasizes the role of advertising in challenging stereotypes

While the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) of 2005 provides an essential legal framework for combating misleading and aggressive advertising, several difficulties are already apparent, notably with new, more pervasive forms of advertising arising from the development of new advertising practices and technologies on the internet, notes the own-initiative resolution.

In the resolution, EP voices concern about “the routine use of behavioural advertising and the development of intrusive advertising practices” – third parties who read private emails or use social networks and geolocation techniques to tailor advertising to individual consumers’ interests.

EP wants online ads to include an insertion of “clearly readable words ‘behavioural advertisement’ into the relevant online advertisements”, along with a window containing a basic explanation of this practice.

According to the same resolution, behavioural advertising can constitute “an attack on the protection of privacy when it involves tracking individuals”, through cookies or profiling. The document adds that consumers must receive clear, accessible and comprehensive information about how their data are collected and used.

EP’s resolution calls on the European Commision to develop a EU Web site labelling system, following the model of European Privacy Seal, that certifies a site’s standard of data protection.