Online behavioural advertising

The following TMT practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Online behavioural advertising
  • What is behavioural advertising?
  • Terminology and contractual models
  • Key participants
  • Contractual models
  • Programmatic advertising
  • Technology behind behavioural advertising
  • UK GDPR and online behavioural advertising
  • What is profiling?
  • What is automated decision-making?
  • More...

Online behavioural advertising

This Practice Note analyses the following commercial and legal issues relating to online behavioural advertising (OBA), targeted advertising, profiling and automated decision-making:

  1. What is online behavioural advertising?

  2. Terminology and contractual models

  3. Technology behind behavioural advertising

  4. UK GDPR and online behavioural advertising

  5. General profiling and decision making based on profiling

  6. Solely automated decision-making, including profiling

  7. Data protection impact assessments

  8. PECR 2003

  9. Interplay between PECR 2003 and the UK GDPR

  10. Government and regulatory scrutiny of online behavioural advertising

  11. ePrivacy Regulation

  12. CAP Code

  13. EASA Code

Although many laws are relevant in this context, the primary consideration is data protection. This note addresses the position under the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation, Retained Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (the UK GDPR): the UK version of the EU’s GDPR incorporated into domestic law following the end of the Brexit implementation period.

The introduction of the EU GDPR in 2018 had a significant impact on OBA in comparison to the previous data protection regime due to stricter limitations on the processing of personal data and greatly increased fines for non-compliance. One study found that there had been a 22% drop in the number of cookies placed by news websites without the user’s consent since implementation. Advertising and marketing cookies specifically were down 14%.

For more information on the UK and EU GDPR regimes from a general perspective, see Practice Note: Introduction to

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