Online behavioural advertising: the new rules

From 4 February 2013, organisations using targeting advertising online — known as ‘online behavioural advertising’ (OBA) — will be required to tell web users about their use of OBA and allow them to opt-out of having their data collected and used for OBA. Here, we consider how OBA is currently used, what the new rules will require and their impact on the advertising industry and consumers.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) defines OBA as a developed form of targeted advertising carried out by ‘third parties’. The term ‘third parties’ refers to organisations which do not own or operate the website on which advertising is carried out, but which work in conjunction with the website operator to collect data on users’ web viewing behaviour. These third parties collect data from a particular user’s computer, analyse it, and use it to deliver customised advertising to that user.

OBA enables the third party to identify a user’s particular interest or preference from the data collected and to then place a cookie on that user’s computer to determine what advertising the user will receive…

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