Behavioral Advertising: tracking consumers with consent : Consideration of the substantive and procedural role of online contracts and other agreements, consent, and regulation of behavioral advertising in the US and the EU.
Technologies have been introduced that allow companies to track consumer browsing online. Behavioral advertising, also referred to as behavioral targeting, is a method of collecting consumer information based on online behavior. From the information collected, by an advertiser, a detailed consumer profile can be created. The consumer profile is designed to provide advertisers with a more accurate picture of the kinds of services or products that a group of users, or a specific user, might be interested in purchasing. To better determine consumer preferences, tracking applications may record consumer purchases on a specific company’s website, or across multiple websites, including competitor’s websites.
Recent regulatory agency decisions in the EU and the US suggest that the consent provided by consumers may be questionable as terms and conditions of tracking applications are presented in a way that often makes them difficult for the consumer to understand or appreciate. This thesis considers some of those concerns; discusses policy points raised, and provides a comparison of the regulatory systems in the US and the EU.