IP Tracking: the CNIL does not find any crime on the part of commercial sites

by bold-lichterman

The joint investigation by the CNIL and the DGCCRF, on the other hand, denounces “practices of price modulations”

It was in June 2013 that the CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés) was seized of a highly sensitive subject: IP Tracking. This practice would consist in keeping the IP address of Internet users who consult ticket prices, without placing an order immediately, in order to offer them a higher price for the same product during a subsequent connection. In other words, the merchant sites would cross IP and cookies, to outbid the offer and increase the conversion rate.

MEP Françoise Castex therefore referred the matter to the Commission, for an investigation also carried out by the DGCCRF, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Repression of Fraud.

This Monday, January 27, the CNIL and the DGCCRF issued their conclusions: no offense of IP Tracking for merchant sites under the yoke of the investigation: “If the controls have not led to the finding of a practice of modulating the prices displayed according to the IP address of the Internet user, they have however highlighted other practices of price variations, ”the report said.

The Yield Management in question

The controls of the two institutions point to practices based on the number of places offered or remaining on the plane or train concerned. This pricing policy (sometimes called “Yield Management”) leads, for example, to modulating the price of a ticket according to the date of purchase or the occupancy rate.

The commercial sites audited in the tourism sector also vary the administrative fees according to the time at which the Internet user makes his reservation; Internet users thus benefit from more advantageous costs when they buy a ticket during “off-peak hours” determined by the merchant.

As for the distance selling sector, no IP Tracking observed, neither directly by the sites, nor by technical service providers in the field of behavioral marketing (retargeting, real time bidding). Here too, the use of a price adjustment according to the website previously consulted by the Internet user was also highlighted. The CNIL cites a practical case: “if an Internet user comes from a price comparison, he will sometimes be offered a more attractive call price, but with higher costs, the total price not being significantly impacted. . This operation is carried out without the person being in a position to know the mechanisms leading to modulating the displayed tariff, ”warns the Commission.

IP-tracking: Move around, there’s nothing to see!

CastexFor her part, the MEP for Gers Françoise Castex denounces on her site : These companies continue to use profiling techniques which generate unfair competition and which constitute a diversion of the personal data of millions of Internet users, in particular through the use of their browsing history (…) CThese practices do not comply with the new legislation on the protection of personal data, adopted by the European Parliament on October 21, which provides for the explicit consent of the citizen in the event of use of this data ”. Françoise Castex called on the European Commission to take up the subject.

Consult the conclusions of the survey published by the CNIL