The representatives of IAB Europe and EASA, European advertising and marketing industry associations, met with the Article 29 Working Party, a group of European data protection authorities, on 14 September 2011 to discuss the industry’s self-regulatory code on Online Behavioural Advertising.  As we blogged here, the Article 29 Working Party had previously voiced concerns over some of the aspects of the code in its letter to the Online Behavioural Advertising Industry published in August.  These concerns were reiterated during the meeting, as the Working Party emphasized that consent for the use of cookies on user’s equipment (a requirement under the new ePrivacy Directive) cannot be implied from the user’s inaction or silence.  As the Working Party had stressed in its recent opinion, only statements or actions can constitute valid consent.

The Working Party explained that the code should be amended to provide compliance with European and national legal requirements after the industry admitted that the code was mainly intended to provide a level playing field.  The chairman of the Working Party was concerned that companies might wrongly consider the code as a “safe haven” when it in fact falls short of legal requirements.

The industry representatives were also invited to address the privacy concerns raised by the Working Party in its August letter.  The Working Party would take the industry’s answers into account when it prepares its official opinion on the Code  – to be finalized by the end of the year.