back to article OFT leaves online ad snoopers to regulate themselves

The Office of Fair Trading believes the online behavioural advertising industry is quite able to regulate itself, despite some concerns about user profiling and adaptive pricing based on postcodes. It said the Internet Advertising Bureau's approach to self-regulation goes some way to dealing with consumer concerns, although …


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  1. yakitoo

    A couple

    of useless organisations that obviously haven't noticed which way the wind is now blowing.

    Should help the economy drive a bit.

  2. FailKing

    Lobbying at its best

    Congratulations to the lobbyists, job well done.

  3. Jelliphiish


    some got paid.

  4. Dan 10

    Smells a bit

    Congratulations to the lobbyists indeed.

    As for targeted pricing that determines if I would be willing to pay a higher price - go for it, because as soon as I get a sniff of you using such a thing, you'll never see my money again, regardless of the price.

    Or, to put it another way, that sounds like a lovely scheme for driving away the more affluent customers from your business. Way to go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wouldn't surprise me...

      ...if we soon see independent websites and/or browser add-ons to deal with such things... Sensible people tend to shop around for best prices long before they make a buying decision on a single website, and price fixing or manipulation will simply lose business.

      Not all online shoppers are as daft as the advertisers think. Even now, 90% of their scripts, page bugs and pop-ups get nowhere near the browsers screens of more careful users.

      In fact I don't think the advertising industry cons the public half as much as they con their corporate customers.

  5. The BigYin

    Epic fail

    On a few counts

    1 "with consent provisions and opt-out options."

    WRONG! It should be "OPT-IN". The presumption should be that people want to be left alone UNLESS they opt-in.

    2 DPI should not be tolerated

    UNLESS there is a court order; or

    UNLESS is is some techie trying to figure out WTF is up with the network (or whatever problem they are trying to solve)

    3 As the OFT is to gormless to regulate them, I will have to

    So I have PAID the salaries of all the useless twats at the OFT and ICO, and they have not done their job. Now I have to do it form them by blocking the privacy invading parasites at my end the best I can. Can I get a partial tax refund please?

    Do you run a company? The fastest way to lose me as a customer is send my shit in the post I did not sign-up to or to have some sales droid call me. Actually if you cold-call me, you may well get a whole truck-load of pain you did not bargain on.

  6. Alexander Hanff 1

    OFT going against EU Law?

    The Telecoms Reform Package clearly states that the use of cookies for things such as behavioural profiling/advertising require explicit -prior- informed consent (that means Opt-In) and these laws come into effect no later than May 2011.

    So how then do the OFT expect their current "ruling" to work given it clearly goes against regional and soon to be national law?

    Let's see what the EU Commission think about that one eh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ...they're still considering the latest reply they got from the UK government in regards to Phorm months after they recieved it and even longer since they requested it (back in October last year I think?).

      What are the chances really that they would also be willing to look at this too any time soon?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One born every minute...

    ... and obviously a whole bunch when it comes to the the Office of Futile Trading....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Self Regulation leave the consumer out in the cold

    While all these salaried quango officials chat to each other and run consultations, and hear from paid lobbyists and industry spokesmen, individual consumers (the ones this is all meant to protect?) are simply ignored.

    My ISP fails the latest OFT/ICO BTA test, as it uses third party cookies (Omniture/Touchclarity) to track users on their password protected https account pages. It doesn't mention this in it's privacy policy or in any other place. It bans discussion of the issue on its user forums. It bans customers who raise the matter from using the forums. It's senior managers refuse to enter into correspondence about their BTA policy or partners. And complaints to the ICO have to sit in a 6 MONTH BACKLOG. So where does that leave the BTA victim? Completely exposed, and unprotected, with no effective redress. EU Commission please note.

    You guessed it - the ISP is BT pld - . The one facing possible prosecution for its interception of communications in 2006/2007 - the one that still thinks Patricia Hewitt is a Labour MP. But are they bovvered? Doesn't look like it. Do they self-regulate? Not on your Livingston. They don't give a Galvin.

  9. Dennis Wilson


    Self regulation does not work, the newspaper self regulation has shown how unworkable it can be. The I.C.O. who gives this their full backing cannot be trusted because along along with the trojan maker and computer infector, were complicit in the criminal cover up of wiretapping laws.

    If a criminal recommends it then alarm bells should ring, and ring bloody loud at that.

  10. Andrew Taylor 1

    Office of "Fair" Trading

    This is the organisation that couldn't see price fixing by the record cartel despite them attempting to sue Asda as a group, when Asda decided to reduce their cut on the Top 20 CD's, or the numerous group court cases by the Record Companies against anyone who challenges their idea of an open market. OFT are a waste of time and a QUANGO that should be dispenced with in the current round of ConDem cuts.

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    OFT has had it's moments

    But the look like they were a *long* way in the day.

    There performance on IT related matters seems *very* poor.

    Let me suggest a view that El Reg readers might agree with.

    You go on a site it tracks what pages on *that* site you visit and what links you use.

    *NO* off-site tracking. Should there be some kind of joining process opt *in* to advertising is mandatory. Readers *ask* to have advertising (remember this allows the site to show it has genuine members to its advertisers. Adblock as and when necessary).

    Awkward to make a profit? Probably? Tough to retain subscribers? Quite probably.

    But HTF did they conclude "Opt out" was reasonable without a payoff?

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