Go Away Pop-up Ads, Respect My Online Privacy!


Advertisements for products are everywhere in the modern life. They interrupt TV shows, fill the first 20 pages of magazines and if you use the free version of Pandora, songs are often sandwiched between ads. Although advertisements are generally annoying—that’s why people fast forward through them on their recorded shows—online advertisements can be downright invasive and creepy. Many online advertisers use click bait and pop-up windows to send customized ads to consumers. It’s almost as if the advertisers are tracking consumers’ online activities. That’s because many of them are doing exactly that!

According to non-profit think tank the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), the lack of meaningful privacy controls on data collection and security assurances have harmed the ad industry, the brands that use the advertisers as well as consumers. OTA’s Nov. 16 white paper, Vision for Trustworthy Advertising, found that up to 25 percent of consumers use ad blockers, highlighting the need for self-restraint and regulation by the ad industry. The white paper argued that the ad industry must address these privacy concerns to “avoid an ad meltdown.”

The white paper noted that “the vast majority of ads are not obtrusive, unsafe or insecure.” However, OTA proposed digital advertisers to address user experience, privacy, security, transparency and impact to device performance. It called for the ad industry to “start an inclusive multi-stakeholder effort to develop a comprehensive set of industry best practices that lead to an enforceable code of conduct for advertisements.”

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