Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Surfers can quiet some targeted ads

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TORONTO -- Canadians spooked every time they see online advertisements that reflect their web-browsing history now have a tool to stop some of the snooping ads.

The Digital Advertising Alliance Of Canada has launched youradchoices.ca, which allows web users to opt out of so-called behavioural advertising.

Behavioural advertising is typically based on web browser "cookies" -- small files that get dropped on your computer with information about browsing history and habits. Advertisers can read those cookies and serve up targeted product pitches.

Digital Advertising Alliance Of Canada chairman Bob Reaume said he's pushing for the industry to use the term "interest-based advertising" since behavioural advertising has negative connotations attached to it.

"It sounds so sneaky and evil, and interest-based advertising is really what we're doing, we're just inferring what products and services a consumer might be interested in and we're serving ads for those products and services," he said.

The opt-out tool stops consumers from receiving behavioural ads from 115 participating ad agencies, ad networks and companies. Behavioural ads paid for by those companies will be marked with a blue triangle-shaped icon, which will link to information about the opt-out system.

Consumers may still see unmarked behavioural ads from companies not affiliated with the voluntary program.

Privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart had been calling for a Canadian opt-out system since 2011.

"It was an incredibly complicated thing to get up and running," said Reaume about the delay.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 20, 2013 B7

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