New CAP rules on behavioural advertising

The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced new rules on online behavioural advertising. UK advertisers will be expected to comply with these rules from 4th February 2013. Unlike the much-discussed cookie law, the CAP rules are technology neutral, concentrating instead on the actions involved in providing on-line adverts that are targeted to individuals’ patterns of behaviour across multiple websites.

The rules apply both to the display of targeted adverts, and to the collection of information from which patterns of behaviour are derived. Wherever a third party organisation collects behavioural information across the websites of multiple companies, the third party organisation must document this both on their own website and in or around the resulting adverts. Individual advertisers are required to cooperate with the Advertising Standards Authority to identify third parties if required. Users must be able to opt out of both having adverts displayed and of having their browsing habits collected. Where collection is done in a way that will capture substantially all an individual’s browsing history – for example in collaboration with their ISP – this may only be done after the individual has given their explicit consent.

By Andrew Cormack

I'm Chief Regulatory Advisor at Jisc, responsible for keeping an eye out for places where our ideas, services and products might raise regulatory issues. My aim is to fix either the product or service, or the regulation, before there's a painful bump!

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