Benefits and Limitations of Industry Self-Regulation for Online Behavioral Advertising

December 13, 2011

Self-regulation, as opposed to government regulation, is the preferred norm in industries as diverse as health care, higher education, fashion, advertising, mining, marine fishing, professional sports, and nuclear power. The private sector relies on self-regulation to establishing industry standards, professional codes of ethic, and establish consumer confidence. Unfortunately, when it comes to protecting consumer privacy online, many policymakers are skeptical of self-regulation and seem to think the risks of under-regulation outweigh the risks of over-regulation. As debate intensifies in this new regulatory frontier, ITIF is unveiling a report that will evaluate self-regulation by the private sector, explaining in practical terms how it works and why it is essential to protect consumer privacy in online behavioral advertising and other aspects of life online.