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Targeted Advertising Too Big to be Missed in Privacy Act Reforms.

Regarding the Government’s response to the Privacy Act review, Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) Deputy CEO, Chandni Gupta said while there are several safeguards incoming, targeted advertising can’t be forgotten.

Targeted advertising in its current form is behind a wall with little to no visibility on how our personal information is used, Ms Gupta said.

We know more than 90 per cent of Australians are uncomfortable with the current model that tracks and uses our characteristics without clear consent or limitations for targeted advertising.

​In a report released earlier this year CPRC found almost half of Australians are not comfortable with any form of targeted advertising based on tracking them online or using their personal characteristics.

Of those consumers who are comfortable with some form of targeted advertising:

  • a third want the option to opt-out
  • a quarter only want to see targeted ads when they have opted-in, and
  • a quarter only want to see ads based on current search for product or service.

“Our research found there is a clear discomfort with personal information being used for targeted advertising without any baseline safeguards or limits.

“If the current direction persists, it leans towards an opt-out model. However, we firmly believe Australians deserve opt-in protections.

“Australians would all be safest with an opt-in approach, ensuring choice and control are in their hands.

“The current approach that tracks online behaviour or personal characteristics without giving express permission to targeted advertising, is flawed.”

CPRC applauds the reforms and the strides the Government’s response has made, including better privacy protections for minors and heightened enforcement, however the omission of protections around targeted advertising does ring some alarm bells.

“We’re eager to collaborate with Government as the process continues – this is the first of many steps so we’re looking forward to seeing how the proposed reforms can work for consumers as well”, Ms Gupta said.

More information, read the full report:  Not a fair trade – consumer views on how businesses use their data . 

Media contacts for further comment

CPRC – 0493 539 466 or media@cprc.org.au

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