Yahoo! was very pleased to participate in a recent IAPP-hosted conference entitled “The New EU Cookie Consent Law – What is Your Strategy?” Rosa Barcelo, a Senior Lawyer in the European Data Protection Supervisor’s Office and Eduardo Ustaran, Partner and Head of the Privacy and Information Law Group, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP rounded out the engaging discussion allowing me to give a company perspective on the issue.
The conversation focused on European public policy debates about cookies – what they are, how they are used to power products and services on a website, where this fits within emerging European legal framework(s) and what controls exist for users around such technologies? The group discussed where we’ve been under the earlier ePrivacy Directive, and where we may be going to reinforce website users’ meaningful control over their online experience.
An amendment to the ePrivacy Directive recently passed into law requires consent of Internet users before programs (including cookie files) can be placed on their computers. All that remains for the law to go into force is implementation on the local level by the EU Member States over the next 18 months. Over the coming year, the public policy community will look at current practices, emerging consumer transparency and control mechanisms, and the evolution of consumer privacy communications as an indicator of how Member States and companies themselves will manifest this “update” to the Directive through real consumer enhancements.
It was against this backdrop that I was glad to share the recent BETA versions of Yahoo!’s own work in this arena, in the form of Yahoo!’s Ad Interest Manager. Now available on Yahoo!’s French, Spanish, Italian, German, UK and Ireland sites, Ad Interest Manager takes an innovative approach to consumer transparency and control around interest-based advertising. As our users will see, these tools provide an unprecedented view into both the advertising categories used to choose the most relevant ads for them on our websites, but also a view into the information used to make those decisions. Powered with this information, users can exercise strong control over both the individual categories assigned for their browser and the interest-based advertising program a whole.
Thanks again to Ms. Barcelo, Mr. Ustaran and the rest of the team at the IAPP for a thoughtful and informative session!
If interested in hearing more about this conversation, the conference was recorded and is available on the IAPP website.
On a related upcoming note, Chris Sherwood—Yahoo!’s Public Policy Director in Brussels–will be speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament’s new Privacy Platform on Wednesday Jan 27th, specifically about our Ad Interest Manager project and the innovations that we’ve brought to our European consumers through these tools. The event is entitled “awareness and empowerment: the role of users in privacy protection.” Anyone interested in attending should contact Sophie In ‘t Veld, MEP.
Justin B. Weiss
Director – International Privacy