Will 2011 be the year that online advertising becomes more transparent? Thanks to a few key initiatives, consumers can expect to have better control over how their data is used online.

Are You Down with ODP?

Designed as a market-wide collaboration that enables solution providers (i.e., ad networks, exchanges, data aggregators) to integrate their data into the Better Advertising notice experience, the Online Data Partnership (ODP) makes it so consumers can interact directly with information in one easy-to-use portal. In other words, consumers can access a “snapshot” of the information companies have collected about their interests, and edit information or opt-out altogether.

The service is set to launch in January and will include information provided by eight data and tracking firms with the hope of adding more along the way. While online tracking is legal, companies are obligated to show people what they know about them, ODP works on behalf of the consumer to help them see all the information companies know about them.

Creating a Dynamic Policy Framework

The ODP isn’t the only way that online advertising will promote accountability. A new U.S. Dept. of Commerce report (PDF) on online privacy aims to revitalize Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) and establish a commercial data-focused Privacy Policy Office that would identify areas where new industry or use-specific codes are needed.

The report has been criticized for emphasizing self-regulation by the online advertising industry as well as incentivizing safe harbor against enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Yet, the report does call for the US and foreign governments to “develop a framework for mutual recognition of other countries’ commercial data privacy frameworks”

Regardless of how 2011 shapes up, transparency and privacy controls are both priorities when it comes to online advertising, which incidentally has the online advertising industry scrambling to be more transparent in its widespread practice of collecting, selling and using Web browsing and other profile information about consumers.