AudienceScience does not create nor use any sensitive data segments to tailor ads on behalf of our advertiser clients. However, we recognize that consumers may have differing opinions regarding which data segments are sensitive. In order to provide transparency around potentially sensitive data segments collected and used by AudienceScience, we will provide some examples of them here. For example, we may use health related segments such as Cholesterol and Dental, Oral Care or finance related segments such as Retirement Planners or Real Estate and Mortgage Shoppers.
While we don’t consider any of the above data segments to be sensitive, we think its important to provide this transparency to help you have a better idea of which segments might be collected by us, so you can make informed decisions. And we don’t use any data segments to determine credit worthiness, for insurance underwriting or similar purposes.
As a member of the NAI, Audience Science cannot utilize “Precise information about past, present, or potential future health or medical conditions or treatments, including genetic, genomic, and family medical history.”
The Audience Science revision makes it clear that an interest inferred from your behavior — such as searching for information about high cholesterol — is not considered precise medical information. This means that once a computer is linked to a health interest through the ad targeting process, that interest potentially also may be connected with personally identifiable information otherwise associated with that machine. While this is not the intention of the ad targeters, it is nevertheless a consequence of the process.
I’m pleased that Audience Science has clarified the point. It’s also important that other folks, like the DAA and NAI, make it more clear to consumers that health interests are actually not really out-of-bounds when it comes to ad targeting.