AdRoll: Yet another 1-year deletion policy

September 7, 2009

As more targeting firms sharpen up their privacy practice disclosures, 1 year continues to emerge as the prevailing outer limit for retention of consumer behavioral information. Retargeter AdRoll is the latest to adopt a deletion time frame in their privacy policy, choosing the 12 month horizon.

Now, with most companies having chosen 365 days for the life of behavioral data, and privacy organizations arguing for a one-day deletion policy, you have to wonder: are we headed for a Solomonic compromise somewhere in the middle, like 6-months?

Let’s hope instead that they look at it this way:  either behavioral targeting truly becomes an opt-in only proposition (call it a 24 hour default deletion rule if you want, but as a practical matter you are requiring opt-in); or we continue with an opt-out regime with an outside time frame, like 12 months, that is acceptable to consumers but also allows marketers to make use of the information. In the latter case, much enhanced disclosure would be required to make the opt-out meaningful.

(P.S. In their revision, AdRoll also clarified their privacy disclosure in another important way, now stating more clearly that they do not collect or use personally identifiable information in the course of their retargeting. Very helpful!)

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