4A’s Latest to Try to Head Off Regulation on Online Privacy

In another sign of the growing profile of the issue of online privacy, the American Association of Advertising Agencies has created a privacy committee and named John Montgomery, chief operating officer of GroupM Interaction, to head it up.

Montgomery has previously been involved in the online privacy debate on Capitol Hill, having testified last month before the Senate Commerce Committee, where Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is busy finalizing a bill that would create a consumer online privacy bill of rights.

Online ads based on behavioral data are increasingly popular among advertisers, who are worried that heavy-handed government legislation could put a damper on the growing practice.

In an effort to allay the government’s concerns about personally identifiable data, the committee will meet about every six weeks and look at ways to help members manage consumer education and communication around privacy and interest-based advertising, and promote the adoption of the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulation program. (The 4A’s is one of seven members of the DAA.)  

About 15 members will serve on the privacy committee, including representatives from MPG, Universal McCann, MediaVest, Digitas, Horizon, PHD, Omnicom Media Group, VivaKi and GroupM agency Mindshare.