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Health-Related Web Activity Drives Some Advertising

BEHAVIORAL TARGETING—U.S.

March 14, 2012

Microsoft recently updated its privacy policy to state that it targets health-related ads to consumers based on their online browsing habits, MediaPost News reports. The company says on its website, "Microsoft personalizes ads on many different segments, including those that are health-related." The privacy policy change comes after a new Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) rule that requires members to provide transparency around health-related targeting. NAI Executive Director Marc Groman, CIPP/US, says the organization plans to enforce the policy this year. Meanwhile, privacy advocates are calling for explicit consent around health-related targeting. "If people start seeing online ads from third-party ad networks targeted to medical 'research,'" says the Center for Democracy & Technology's Justin Brookman, "they may be deterred from similar research in the future, which would be a terrible result."
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