July 02, 2009

Stu Ingis receives broad coverage for comments on behavioral advertising self-regulation plan

2 min

Venable partner and chair of the firm’s Privacy and Data Security Practice Group Stu Ingis was quoted in stories published by the New York Times, USA Today, Associated Press and Reuters about the July 2 release of the internet advertising industry’s plan to self-regulate the collection and use of information about internet users for advertising purposes.

Ingis, who represents the industry coalition that formulated the plan, said that lawmakers' and regulators’ increased interest in behavioral advertising hastened the report’s release.

“We believe that self-regulation, historically, has proven to be far more dynamic and flexible in this area,” he said in the New York Times story. “Legislation is a pretty blunt instrument and we hope, legislation or not, these are the right standards.”

One of the report’s big changes for the industry is that it instructs members to provide notice, either in an ad or on a website - rather than in a website’s privacy policy - that behavioral information is being collected.

“For years, consumer groups, and most recently the FTC and people on the Hill, had been calling for transparency at the time of collection” of data, Ingis said. “So for the first time — we think it’s a monumental shift — there will be transparency provided across the ecosystem.”

The guidelines also call for companies to provide "reasonable" security for the data they collect and to limit how much data they retain, and certain sensitive data such as children's personal information, financial data and medical records must have more protection.

"We think [the report] is a very big leap forward," Ingis said in the Associated Press story.

In June, Venable’s Privacy and Data Protection Practice Group received the Chambers Award of Excellence in the Privacy and Data Security category. Chambers and Partners, which give the Award for Excellence to the firm performing what the publisher believes is the most influential and cutting edge work in a given area of law, made special note of Venable’s work in the area of behavioral advertising in its profile of Venable’s Privacy Practice in the 2009 edition of Chambers USA.