This week, a group of federal government privacy professionals took the plunge and started the process of getting certified with the IAPP. Over the course of two days, we explored a ton of privacy-related topics and, while doing so, we struck up many interesting conversations.
I hope that we can make this training opportunity an annual event in Ottawa. If you are in the federal government and are thinking of getting certified, let me know. After we gauge interest we can start planning the next session. A particular shout-out goes to Larry Kennedy, CIPP/C, at Health Canada for making this past week’s experience a success.
One of the topics we explored was online behavioural advertising (OBA). I personally prefer getting ads that I think are more relevant to me. Lord knows I’d rather see ads for my Ottawa Senators than for the dreaded (sorry, Toronto) Maple Leafs! That being said, I know that many people think differently and sometimes refer to what they call the "creep-factor" of OBA. So, should marketing folks be able to target and tailor their ad campaigns based on information learned from tracking people’s online lives?
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) seems concerned too. This past week there was news about a letter the OPC sent to the industry saying they have reasons to believe online marketers are not complying with guidelines on OBA that were issued a couple of years ago and that they will be digging into this further. Are marketers aware of the guidelines and simply turning a blind eye? I mean, they are “only” guidelines (as said in the Pirates of Caribbean movies). And how concerned are people about this practice, really? Are there more people who would prefer tailored ads than those who are creeped out by them? I, for one, am curious to see if the OPC's recent nudge to the industry results in any significant finding of noncompliance with the law.
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