Privacy Protection, Openness, and Online Behavioral Targeting Advertising

16 November 2009 - A Workshop on Openness in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


A powerful global system of online data collection for targeted interactive online marketing has become of the principal features of the Internet. Throughout much of the world, individual user information is now routinely collected for profiling, tracking and targeting purposes that has raised growing concern over personal privacy and consumer welfare. Sophisticated digital marketing technologies, including the use of neuroscience for the creation of online interactive advertising, has also generated public debate, especially related to public health. While online advertising plays a critically important role in the Internet and Web 2.0, the majority of users are not well-informed about the potential impact personal data collection will have on their daily lives. There are, however, other online advertising models beyond behavioral targeting that may allow companies to reach target Internet users without the same risks to privacy.

This workshop is a follow-up to the event held during the IGF 2008. It will start by summarizing the major developments during 2009 around the world on this topic. It will discuss some of the online advertising and behavioral targeting models applied in search engines, online video, online games, web 2.0 and will discuss how personal data is being collected and how it is used. Balancing freedom of speech, privacy, online marketing and consumer protection, various alternatives will be explored, including a discussion of international policy frameworks that have been proposed to regulate privacy and online advertising.

Online advertising and its impact on Internet users and privacy is a global industry, impacting both developing and more economically-advantaged countries alike. Our panel will address practices affecting Internet users all over the world, with emphasis in Asia, South America and Africa. Among the outcomes of this panel will be specific criteria that participants can apply to their own countries, realities and circumstances.