The privacy commissioner defines OBA to include the tracking and
targeting of individuals' web activities, across sites and over
time, in order to serve advertising that is tailored to those
individuals' inferred interests. Such tracking is normally
achieved using technologies such as cookies, web beacons and device
The privacy commissioner's guidance (see above link)
indicates that the use of OBA is permissible if:
Individuals are made aware of the purposes for the tracking
practices in a clear and understandable way that is obvious and not
as online banners, layered approaches and interactive tools may be
Individuals are informed of the use of OBA at or before the
time of collection and provided with information on the parties
There is an ability to "opt-out" of OBA practices
that takes immediate effect and is persistent
The information collected is limited to non-sensitive
information (for example, searches relating to health conditions
should not be tracked)
The information collected and used is destroyed or
de-identified as soon as possible.
The guidance also indicates that it is not permissible to use
tracking tools that an individual cannot stop or control without
extraordinary measures, nor should OBA be targeted at children.
In the recent announcement of its OBA investigation, the privacy
commissioner stated that informal observations of major websites
viewed by Canadians shows that privacy compliance (as it concerns
OBA) may be an issue.
The privacy commissioner plans to "research and
communicate" the degree that organizations are acting in
compliance with PIPEDA, and to disseminate the results in the
spring of 2015.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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