IP: How the newly enacted Do-Not-Track Law impacts businesses

A new amendment to California's Online Privacy Protection Act could provide precedent elsewhere

Online behavioral advertising, also known as targeted advertising, is reportedly more than twice as effective in converting users to buyers as traditional online ads, and generates twice as much revenue per ad. The benefits to advertisers from targeted advertising are clear, but consumers also receive benefits, including greater shopping efficiency and more targeted information about desirable products and services. However, targeted advertising raises privacy concerns – and new legislation in California, along with increased regulatory enforcement and class action litigation elsewhere in the country, make it imperative that companies take these concerns seriously.

In California, a recently enacted amendment to the California Online Privacy Protection Act requires companies to include information about how they respond to “Do Not Track” signals, as well as other new information about their collection and use of personally identifiable information (PII). The amendment, which was signed by the California governor on Sept. 27, 2013, establishes a de facto disclosure standard for online tracking. Companies will have to update their privacy policy to conspicuously disclose how they deal with, and respond to, Web browser Do Not Track (DNT) signals, or other mechanisms regarding the collection of personal information about an individual consumer’s online activities over time and across third-party Web sites or online services, to the extent the operator engages in that collection. In addition to this DNT notice obligation, the law also requires Web site and online service operators to “[d]isclose whether other parties” collect PII regarding a consumer’s “online activities over time and across different Web sites when a consumer uses the operator’s Web site or service.”

Contributing Author

author image

Karen Bromberg

Karen H. Bromberg is a partner with Cohen & Gresser LLP and heads its intellectual property and technology group.

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.