A new age in education, choice and control for digital consumers

The successful future of online advertising depends on the trust of consumers, which in turn depends on transparency. Yesterday Microsoft along with other industry players signed the IAB Europe led Online Behavioural Advertising Framework (OBA), a piece of self-regulation that will help users understand and control behavioural advertising that they receive.

The OBA Framework will enforce transparency in OBA across Europe by introducing new standards and user controls. This heralds a new age in informing and empowering users to make meaningful choices about the way they use OBA. As a result of this Framework, consumers will know when a website is using OBA through the use on an icon around the online advert, which once clicked on will provide more information about the companies involved in that advert and a link to more information on OBA. This puts the power of choice into the consumers hands, as not only will they know when OBA is in use, but they will also be able to switch it off, if they so wish.

The OBA Framework will be enforced through an innovative system of self-regulation, compliance programme providers and special ‘seals’ to demonstrate compliance. It will be doubly reinforced by working with the European Advertising Standards Alliance’s network of self-regulatory organisations.

As said online advertising depends on the trust of users. Microsoft Advertising is committed to being open and transparent with both its partners and consumers and driving best practice in this space. With a world-wide registered user base of over 650m Microsoft has always been at the forefront of providing consumers with clear notice of what data is collected for the purpose of Behavioural Advertising and the ability to opt-out in 3 simple steps from any of our MSN or Hotmail pages.

That’s also why, for example, the latest version of Internet Explorer 9 provides enhanced privacy settings enabling users to build and manage ‘do not track lists’ providing more control over the amount of information they share with third party sites. And why we have been trialing additional ways of increasing transparency for consumers, such as incorporating “About our advertisements” links in the footer across a number of our MSN, Windows Live and Bing EU sites.

We are pleased to sign the OBA Framework, which provides consistency for the whole industry across the EU region, as further demonstration of our commitment to providing Digital Consumers with better Education, Choice and Control.

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