ISBA urges EC to quit legal action over Phorm

ISBA, the British advertising body, has hit out against the European Commission’s (EC) decision to launch legal action against the British Government over behavioural targeting firm Phorm.

On Tuesday the EC said it had received complaints from UK citizens and Members of the European Parliament saying that Phorm had been tested on the BT network without consumer consent (nma.co.uk 14 April).

ISBA has urged the EC to stop its legal challenge and in a statement said concerns over the technology “can and should be addressed by the UK’s successful system of advertising self-regulation”.

The advertiser body refers to the work the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has undertaken with the technology companies such as Phorm, Audience Science and Google, to publish good practice principles last month (nma 5 March).

David Ellison, ISBA’s marketing services manager, said, “Although we understand there are some concerns over online behavioural targeting, ISBA has confidence in the ability of the UK self-regulatory system and in the IAB’s principles for users of this new technology. The IAB principles have the backing of Ofcom and are designed to promote transparency and user choice, as well as to help consumers better understand the benefits of behavioural targeting.

“Importantly, the technology itself has also been cleared by the Information Commissioner’s Office. The UK advertising industry has proven over the years that it can very effectively police itself. We see little need for intervention,” added Ellison.

ISBA’s criticism follows Amazon’s announcement yesterday to ban Phorm from using its technology to scan pages across its site (nma.co.uk 15 April).

ISBA members include COI, Honda and P&G.

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