Several key factors likely contributed to the growing ease among consumer privacy groups and folks who browse the Web. First, the organization of the Behavioral Targeting Standards Consortium, and its proactive approach to alleviating the concerns of consumer groups, likely assuaged much of the ill will left by the remnants of NebuAd. The willingness of research professionals, industry influencers, and technology providers to organize and communicate a seriousness about resolving any perceived issues was crucial.
Another likely factor is proactive nature of self-regulation by the industry. The Seven Best Practices for Behavioral Targeting (the Education Principle, the Transparency Principle, the Consumer Control Principle, the Data Security Principle, the Material Changes Principle, the Sensitive Data Principle, and the Accountability Principle) are solid. The proposal is thorough, covers many angles and previous points of consternation for consumer advocacy groups, and appeases the Federal Trade Commission.
Likely, the Education Principle is the key principle. The more effort put into education – and the wider the educational outreach (to include consumers and lawmakers and industry experts) – the better.
The general acceptance of behavioral targeting at the network level still is not here yet. Do not misconstrue the attempts and successes of industry insiders to redefine BT and lessen consumer advocates’ concerns as complete acceptance. But, there have been several steps in the right direction, and there is good reason for hope.