A tiered approach to online advertising would better protect the privacy of the people being targeted, Microsoft has said.
It also said advertisers should obtain permission before using sensitive, personally identifiable information, in comments to the US Federal Trade Commission on proposed privacy principles that would be self-administered by the online advertising industry.
Microsoft's proposal operates under the idea that the greater the risk to privacy, the greater the protection data should receive, Microsoft officials said.
Microsoft agrees with the FTC's decision to focus on an industry self-regulatory approach, but the company has also called for Congress to pass comprehensive consumer privacy legislation, said Frank Torres, Microsoft director of consumer affairs.
"We're supporting what the FTC is proposing, but we also believe that privacy is important for consumers," Torres said. The company was “not opposed” to going further than the FTC proposal, he added.
Microsoft's proposals would give consumers control over how their personal data was used. "When it comes to online advertising, consumers should be in the driver's seat," he said.
Microsoft said companies that deliver ads or services to unrelated third-party sites should ensure that consumers receive notice of the privacy practices of those sites. Companies that develop profiles of consumer activity to deliver advertising across unrelated third-party sites should also offer consumers a choice about the use of that information, it said.
It added that third parties should be required to obtain consent from consumers before using sensitive, personally identifiable information, such as health conditions, sexuality or religious belief, for behavioural advertising.