Marketing regulation trends in 2012: The 10 biggest headlines of the year

Dec 14, 2012 | Regulation

As digital grows at a rapid pace, law-makers struggle to keep up. In the UK, Lord Levinson would have us believe in his final media ethics report, digital media is an ‘ethical vacuum’ beyond regulation. Despite this rather despondent outlook, there were plently of high-profile legal tussles over the past 12 months. As part of […]

As digital grows at a rapid pace, law-makers struggle to keep up. In the UK, Lord Levinson would have us believe in his final media ethics report, digital media is an ‘ethical vacuum’ beyond regulation. Despite this rather despondent outlook, there were plently of high-profile legal tussles over the past 12 months. As part of a 2012 review, Netimperative looks back at the 10 most popular marketing regulation news stories and trends of the year.

US government crackdowns on piracy met hacktivist shutdowns and consumer protests, while The Pirate Bay simply moved its servers to the cloud to evade capture.
Across Europe, a water-down EU cookie law came into force (and was initially largely ignored).
In Germany, all web users were forced to pay an €18 monthly TV license fee, while in the UK Amazon and Google came under fire for (perfectly legal) tax avoidance.
Advertisers had a tough time of it too. In Australia, a judge ruled that brands are liable for Facebook fan posts.
Meanwhile, Microsoft caused outcry for making ‘Do Not Track’ the default in its new IE 10 broswer, potentially driving down the value and reach of targetted ad campaigns.
View our top 10 biggest internet regulation headlines below. For the latest updates on the digital industry, sign up to our daily or weekly newsletters or follow us on Twitter here.
Watch this space for updates on the top 10 advertising, mobile, search, social, ecommerce, multimedia, gaming and regulation news of the year- all coming this week.
Leveson report: Digital media is ‘ethical vacuum’ beyond regulation
In his final report on the regulation of the UK press, Lord Justice Leveson has claimed that social media and blogs are in an ‘ethical vacuum’ beyond the remit of regulation. The 2000-page final report features just a single page on digital media, despite a raft of recent cases of defendants jailed or cautioned for racist and threatening online comments. His comments mean that print media organisations are likely to have to operate under considerable new constraints, but big online publishers such as Google, Facebook and Twitter are likely to remain unaffected.
Biggest hack yet? Anonymous takes down US Govt. sites to protest Megaupload shutdown
Hacker group Anonymous struck down government and industry Web sites this week, in what they claim was their biggest operation yet. The group, known for their high-profile ‘hacktivist’ protests, targeted the US government and copyright organisations following the shutdown of the Megaupload file-sharing website. The Department of Justice (DoJ), FBI and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) among others have been bombarded with internet traffic. The DoJ announced on Thursday that it had taken action to force Megaupload and related domain names offline, and had charged the firm’s co-founders and others with violating piracy laws.
Internet protest wins: US puts SOPA and PIPA piracy bills on hold
The much-criticised Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act have both been officially postponed, following high-profile protests from a number of websites including Wikipedia and Google. The head of the US House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith, says that they have taken the critic’s concerns on SOPA “seriously” and will put the legislative bill on hold “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”
Watered down EU cookie law comes into force with last-minute changes
A controversial new series of online privacy rules have come into effect within the European Union’s 27 member countries, requiring companies to receive consent to track individuals’ actions online. In a surprise move, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has changed the wording of the laws, moving from needing ‘explicit consent’ to ‘implied consent’ from website users.
Google forced to change ‘catch-all’ privacy policy by EU regulators
Google has been forced to change its controversial privacy policy by European Union regulators after it was criticised over its collection of internet users’ personal information. In a letter to the firm’s chief executive Larry Page yesterday, an EU data protection commissioner said that Google “empowers itself to collect vast amounts of personal data about Internet users” without demonstrating that this “collection was proportionate”.
The Pirate Bay moves to cloud to thwart shutdown
The Pirate Bay has moved its servers to the cloud to hinder authorities’ attempts to take it offline. The file-sharing website will now operate from cloud-hosting providers around the world. It says the move will save money and make it harder for law-enforcement agencies to shut it down.
Germany: All web users forced to pay €17.98 TV license fee
A surprise decision by the German constitutional court on digital media regulation sees people with internet-enabled PCs liable for TV licence. It’s a media regulation that could travel across Europe…
Google and Amazon tax investigation – profits scrutinised
Public outcry in Britain as journalists uncover the scale of how Google and Amazon reduce taxes to boost overall profits. New funding being given to support the Google tax investigation which could impact other multinational online service providers…
Fan comments are now ads? Landmark Diageo ruling makes brands liable for Facebook fan posts
Companies with Facebook profiles will be accountable for comments made by the public on their pages, following a ruling by an advertising watchdog in Australia. Drinks brand Diageo was referred to the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) in Australia, after complaints about its Smirnoff Facebook page. The complaints related to a number of sexist, racist and obscene comments appearing on the page, along with references to under-age drinking.
Microsoft makes ‘Do Not Track’ default browser option- A threat to advertisers?
Microsoft’s next version of its Internet Explorer browser will come with do-not-track already turned on, in a move that has sparked criticism from the online advertising industry. In a statement, the software giant said Internet Explorer 10 will be the “first browser to feature Do Not Track ‘on’ by default, giving customers more choice and control over their privacy.”
For a full review of the year, including our pick or the top virals, oddest news and biggest marketing blunders, click here