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    ZDNet: Privacy outrage causes bank to ditch plans for targeted ads based on customers’ spending habits

    ZDNet reports on a privacy controversy over a Dutch bank’s plans to use its customers’ payment histories for targeted behavioral advertising:

    Dutch bank ING has stepped back from plans to serve ads to its customers based on their banking habits. In an open letter to all ING customers published on Monday, the company’s chairman Nick Jue announced that it had put its plans for the advertising pilot project on hold.

    The trial, announced by the bank last week, would have allowed companies to push targeted advertising to its customers based on their payment history. Although ING’s director of private banking Hans Hagenaars claimed that the plans “are a logical step towards the future of targeted advertising” both the bank’s customers and consumer organisations raised concerns about the proposed pilot, fearing a massive violation of privacy. […]

    “We have not been clear enough about the sensitive topic of customer data, causing an avalanche of worried response from our customers. These responses clearly demonstrate that there are a lot of questions and concerns about the protection of customer data, for which I sincerely apologise,” Jue says in the open letter.

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