The European Parliament has approved a resolution asking the Commission to carry out an in-depth study of “new advertising practices.”  Parliament is concerned about “the routine use of behavioral advertising and the development of intrusive advertising practices (such as reading the content of e-mails, using social networks and geolocation, and retargeted advertising) which constitute attacks on consumers’ privacy.”

The resolution also calls on the Commission to ensure that existing rules are enforced and to undertake a number of additional actions, including: (i) prohibiting the reading of e-mail content by third parties for advertising or commercial purposes; (ii) ensuring the application of techniques making it possible to distinguish advertising tracking cookies from other cookies, and (iii) developing an EU website labeling system certifying a site’s compliance with data protection laws. 

The Commission is not obliged to take action in response to Parliament’s requests.  The Commission is, however, currently reviewing the European data protection framework and it’s possible that the resolution could influence reform proposals expected next summer.