Links & Law - Information about legal aspects of search engines, linking and framing

Hyperlink & Search Engine Law News  Decisions & Court Documents Worldwide Legal Resources (Hyperlink & Search Engine Law Articles) Linking Law Cases Search Engine Law Publications by Dr. Stephan Ott Technical    Background

Comments on FTC Behavioral Advertising Principles

In December 2007, the Federal Trade Commission released a paper titled "Online Behvioral Advertisement: Moving the Discussion Forward to Possible Self-Regulatory Principles" (See: Self-Regulatory Principles on Behavioral Advertising). It included four proposed principles:

  • transparency and consumer control

  • reasonable security and data retention

  • consent for changes to existing privacy policies

  • consent to using sensitive data for behavioral advertising.

The FTC called for comments and many companies and organisations sent statements (they can be found at The commentators agreed that the principles were a good start for the discussion, but also critized several aspects. Google said the principles are overly burdensome and too broadly defined.

As in Europe, Google sticks to its opinion that the IP adress is not a personally identifying information. The paper does not differentiate between personally identifying information and not personally identifying information.This would be a big problem: Principle 3 e.g. requires affirmative express consent for material changes to an online company's privacy policy. Google has a lot of unauthenticated users. How should they be asked for their consent?

Principle 4 would either require the affirmative consent, or simply prohibit, collection of sensitive personal data for behavioral advertising. Google criticises that "sensitive data" is not defined: ”As a result, Principle 4 would not allow Google to collect a search query for “cancer treatment” or “alcoholics anonymous” from unauthenticated users because we do not have any relationship with an unauthenticated user and we have no way to obtain that user’s consent – affirmative and express or otherwise – prior to collecting the search query."




The Links & Law website is updated regularily, so  check back for updated information and resources about search engine and linking issues.

You are currently in the archive with older news. A complete list of the updates can be found here!


Masthead/Curriculum Vitae
Copyright © 2002-2008 Dr. Stephan Ott 

All Rights Reserved.