The European Union adopted a resolution calling for the regulation of online behavioral advertising techniques, especially highlighting the need for clear consumer notification and information to consumers next to advertisements served through online behavioral advertising. In particular, the resolution calls for the insertion of “the clearly readable words ’behavioural advertisement’ into relevant advertisements, as well as a window containing a basic explanation” of the practice of OBA. The resolution also stated concern over the use of behavioral advertising practices such as use of consumer e-mail content, social network information, geolocation and retargeted advertising, which “constitute attacks on consumers’ privacy.” The resolution called for clear, accessible, and comprehensive information for consumers on how their data is collected, processed, and used and urged advertisers to develop a standard opt-in format for use of information. Furthermore, the resolution noted that personal data should be kept only with explicit consumer consent. The resolution also called for the Commission to prohibit systematic, indiscriminate text messaging advertising to consumers without prior consent and require opt-outs for consumers to allow control over receiving future advertising.

TIP: The European Union appears to be heading towards creating heavier regulations on online behavioral advertising, including notice and consent provisions. Advertisers who share information for OBA purposes and ad networks that serve advertisements using OBA information should be aware of potential notice and consent requirements if serving advertisements in the EU.