The Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) head of regulatory affairs Samantha Yorke has argued that if the online industry doesn't improve self regulation then the government will step in, which could be a “dangerous” proposition.
Yorke has recently been appointed to head up the IAB's new Regulatory Affairs Council, which examines issues related to privacy, data and liability. The council has focused on issues such as the Privacy Bill, online behavioural targeting and the Advertising Standards Bureau's recent Facebook ruling.
Yorke told AdNews that the digital space is moving at such a rapid pace that practitioners in the industry need to develop strong self-regulatory codes before it is too late.
“There is a responsibility on the industry to gain a strong understanding, to help consumers have a strong understanding, and to help government as well. The industry must demonstrate responsibility in terms of self-regulation, to make sure the government doesn't step in with onerous legislation.
“We need to show we can self regulate, especially in the data space. We need to help the government see that we can collect data responsibly. The government already regulates in terms of collecting personal information online, but it is in the area of collecting anonymous data used for advertising and marketing that we have to be careful.
“There is always the risk that the government will step in an regulate, which can be a very dangerous proposition for the industry if they don't understand what it is they are doing. But if the government doesn't see the industry as responsible, they will step in.
“The problem is that the industry is still learning, still finding its way, so it is a challenge. At the IAB, we need to be bringing our members together, so everyone can know what is acceptable and unacceptable. We need to work on best practise documents. And we need to do this is quickly as possible so the government doesn't step in.”
The Council is collaborating with the IAB global community, as well as the Communications Council, the Australian Association of National Advertisers and other industry bodies.
Other IAB Councils are the Mobile Advertising Council, Measurement Council, Standards and Guidelines Council and the Research Council.
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