Today BT begins its trials of Phorm – a technology that will target advertisements at consumers based on their web browsing habits.
The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) has weighed in on the debate surrounding behavioural targeting of newspaper ads online, saying privacy standards proposed by the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could ‘infringe on newspapers’ First Amendment rights’, according to a report on Online Media Daily.
Targeted online advertising, says the group, is “not only truthful advertising speech, but advertising speech that meets their [the audience’s] interest”.
Ads are a form of free speech so long as they are not misleading, the association wrote in its comments to the commission:
“Efforts to restrict what newspaper websites publish, and the basis by which editors and advertisers make decisions regarding what to publish, run directly counter to core First Amendment rights, and can amount to a prior restraint.”
The Guardian recently pulled out of a behavioural advertising deal with Phorm, because of ethical concerns, while web creator Tim Berners-Lee voiced concerns over Phorm’s technology.
The FTC’s guidelines on this form of advertising suggest websites allow users to opt-out of the tracking process and seek consent before making use of sensitive information relating to users’ behaviour.