Submitted by NAI on April 12, 2017

We are thrilled to announce that new versions of our easy-to-use consumer choice tools for setting preferences regarding Interest-Based Advertising (IBA) data collection and use are available now!  Rolled out jointly with the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), the tools (initially launched in beta) are the first to offer user choice for both cookie-based and non-cookie technologies for IBA.

In short, the tools tell consumers what they need to know to quickly and easily set their preferences for the latest technologies in digital advertising data collection and use.

The most significant improvements to the tools are:

  • Enhanced user experience,
  • Ability for companies to easily disclose to consumers their use of both cookie-based and non-cookie technologies for digital Interest-Based Advertising (IBA)
  • A faster setup and response time during use, and
  • Improved controls for users to opt-out of such use.

The new versions of the tools represent everything that is great about NAI. Designed and developed by our technology experts, they are the product of two years of collaborative work between our staff and our member companies. Consistent, open communication with our members is a hallmark of NAI and the insight and feedback members provided on the new tools was invaluable.

The new choice tools also show why self-regulation works and is effective. Self-regulation provides flexibility to allow a constant re-evaluation of new technologies. NAI, working with its member companies, was able to enhance consumer choice tools to adopt and integrate new technologies.

What NAI member companies need to know:

What consumers need to know:

  • The updated tools offer a significantly improved consumer experience. You should expect a simplified, mobile-responsive interface; a reduced need to modify browser settings for successful opt-outs; and a real-time status check that reports the use of both cookie-based and non-cookie technologies. You can find the NAI tool online at
  • You can see a demo to learn how to use the tool on NAI’s YouTube channel at
  • If you have already used the old NAI or DAA choice tools to express your digital advertising preferences, those preferences will not be changed by the new version of the tools. But, because the updated tools cover both cookie-based and non-cookie technology, you should use the new versions if you wish to opt-out of companies using non-cookie technologies for IBA.

These tools reflect the ongoing collaboration between NAI and DAA, the two industry-leading self-regulatory organizations for digital advertising. We are proud of our work with the DAA on these updated tools, showcasing our industry’s dedication to transparency and enhancing consumer experience and choice in this ever-evolving landscape.

We hope you’ll check them out.

Submitted by NAI on March 22, 2017

Originally posted at

Extensive Consumer Research Defines First Set of the Most Objectionable Ad Experiences

Washington, DC, Brussels, March 22, 2017 — The Coalition for Better Ads today released initial Better Ads Standards for desktop and mobile web that reflect consumer advertising preferences in North American and European markets. The initial Better Ads Standards are based on comprehensive research in which consumers comparatively ranked different ad experiences presented to them while they read online articles. More than 25,000 consumers rated 104 ad experiences for desktop web and mobile web.

The Coalition’s research identifies the ad experiences in both North America and Europe that ranked lowest across a range of user experience factors, and that are most highly correlated with an increased propensity for consumers to adopt ad blockers. These results define initial Better Ads Standards that identify the ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability. Six desktop web ad experiences and twelve mobile web ad experiences fell beneath this threshold. The Coalition encourages the marketplace to use these results to improve the consumer experience.

“We are energized by how quickly this cross-industry Coalition was able to research and identify annoying advertising formats,” said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next. “There is still much work to be done but we are out of the gate in our work to make the web less annoying for the average consumer.”

“The scope and nature of this research provides insight into how consumers view different online ad experiences, highlighting what’s working well, and what we need to re-think in order to secure more meaningful engagement,” said Nancy Hill, President and CEO, 4As. “The consumer preferences identified in the Better Ads Standards will be useful to our members who wish to take action to improve the online experience.”

During the Coalition’s research, consumers were asked to read articles on simulated high quality content pages, and then to rate comparatively the different ad experiences they received. These consumer preference ratings, as correlated with increased consumer propensity to use ad blockers, identified the following types of desktop ad experiences beneath the initial Better Ads Standard: pop-up ads, auto-play video ads with sound, prestitial ads with countdown and large sticky ads. For the mobile web environment, the following types of ad experiences fell beneath the initial Better Ads Standard: pop-up ads, prestitial ads, ads with density greater than 30%, flashing animated ads, auto-play video ads with sound, poststitial ads with countdown, full-screen scrollover ads, and large sticky ads.

“We hope these initial standards will be a wake-up call to brands, retailers, agencies, publishers, and their technology suppliers, and that they will retire the ad formats that research proves annoy and abuse consumers,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “If they don’t, ad blocking will rise, advertising will decline, and the marketplace of ideas and information that supports open societies and liberal economies will slide into oblivion.”

“Tens of thousands of consumers have made their opinions clear through this robust research. Consumers in North America and Europe have similar views on online ad experiences they find annoying and disruptive,” said Bob Liodice, CEO of ANA. “All online ad industry constituents should take a hard look at the findings. They provide valuable insights for the development of consumer-friendly ad campaigns.”

The Coalition plans a broad range of educational activities for its members and others in the industry, including presentations via participating trade associations, conference participation and webinars. By making the research widely available, the Coalition aims to encourage industry participants to incorporate the findings into their efforts to improve the online ad experience for consumers. Journalists and interested parties can learn more about the research methodology, findings and initial Better Ads Standards at

“This comprehensive research and these initial Better Ads Standards provide great guidance on the role ad formats have on the user experience,” said Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe. “We look forward to using the data released today to engage our members about consumer ad preferences, and to upcoming phases of the Coalition’s research that we expect will contribute even more depth and breadth of coverage of European markets.”

The methodology used to support the initial Better Ads Standards is extensible to different global regions and to other digital environments, or to the measurement of new ad experiences in previously tested environments. The Coalition’s roadmap includes plans to conduct additional research on desktop web, mobile web and other environments across various regions including further testing throughout Europe, in North America, Asia and Latin America.

“The Coalition will build on this important work by expanding its efforts to other regions and ad formats,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). “The global reach of the Coalition’s membership and the continuing addition of new members support our goal to improve the advertising experience for Internet users worldwide.”

“As an industry we have a responsibility to find better ways of making great advertising and content that really engages people. It’s in everyone’s interest; better advertising leads to a better experience for the viewer and more effective advertising for brand,” said Keith Weed, Chief Marketing Officer for Unilever. “The work of the Coalition to identify consumer preferences around ad formats will be a highly useful and insightful tool for the brand builders, advertisers and advertising agencies who are working to improve the quality of advertising for the viewer while driving effectiveness and efficiencies for the brand.”

“These research results will serve as a foundation to the LEAN Scoring System, which is currently under development,” said Alanna Gombert, General Manager, IAB Tech Lab, and Senior Vice President, Technology and Ad Operations, IAB. “Now we have actionable results that can be used to create tools to improve the user experience across interactive screens.”

“This research will prove incredibly valuable to the marketers and advertisers who seek to responsibly leverage data to achieve deeper engagement with consumers,” said Tom Benton, CEO of the Data & Marketing Association (DMA). “With these insights and the initial Better Ads Standards, the full marketing ecosystem can move forward together to pursue better-performing ad placements and enhanced customer experiences.”

“The Coalition’s research is timely and useful,” said Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) President and CEO Leigh Freund. “NAI members are committed to a free and open internet which depends on digital advertising. As a result, it is important to ensure that consumers can interact with advertising in a mutually beneficial way. Our high standards for member practices address consumers’ privacy concerns, and the Coalition’s work to address consumer annoyance issues can help guide our members and all advertisers to ensure a better consumer experience.”

“Our members make huge investments in high-quality journalism, and those investments are still primarily sustained by advertising revenue,” said David Chavern, President and CEO, News Media Alliance. “This exhaustive research allows advertisers, agencies, publishers and everyone else involved in the advertising ecosystem to have a much better understanding of the kinds of ads that consumers like to see – and the ones they don’t respond to. It is exactly the type of information that will lead to the higher performance for digital advertising as a whole.”

Members and supporters of the Coalition, in alphabetical order, include the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), AppNexus, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), BVDW Germany (rep. IAB Germany), Data & Marketing Association (DMA), Digital Content Next, Facebook, Google, GroupM, IAB, IAB Europe, IAB France, IAB Tech Lab, IAB UK, Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), News Corp, News Media Alliance, Omnicom Media Group, Oriel, Procter & Gamble, Sovrn, Teads, The Washington Post, Thomson Reuters, Unilever, and World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). An additional 80 trade associations from around the world are affiliates of the Coalition for Better Ads. Companies and trade associations that wish to join the Coalition can learn more at


Brendan McCormick
70 Douglass Communications

Submitted by William Lee on March 2, 2017

On Monday, February 27, 2017 the IAPP hosted a DC KnowledgeNet chapter meeting at the offices of Reed Smith LLP. The meeting included a panel discussion featuring federal and state regulators on emerging 2017 policy and legal trends in the area of data privacy and security.

Panel participants were:

  • Maneesha Mithal, Associate Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
  • Ellen Rosenblum, Attorney General, Oregon


  • Divonne Smoyer, CIPP/US, Partner, Reed Smith

Outlined below are five key takeaways for NAI members:

1. Enforcement priorities at the state and federal level include connected devices, sensitive data, and deception

Panelist Maneesha Mithal outlined three major enforcement priorities for the FTC. First, she noted that the FTC has devoted increased attention to the privacy practices of connected devices over the past year through initiatives such as their smart TV and drones workshops. Mithal said that she expects this trend to continue, with a possible workshop examining connected cars to be held in 2017. Secondly, Mithal predicted that the protection of consumers’ sensitive data, as highlighted by the recent Vizio case, is likely to be a continued focus area. Finally, Mithal suggested energy and focus will be directed toward preventing deceptive privacy practices, such as false claims of self-regulatory regime membership. Deceptive practices are seen by the FTC as both a consumer protection and fair competition issue.

Panelist Ellen Rosenblum added that she believes there needs to be a greater focus on the criminal aspects of cybercrime. For instance, she proposed that data breaches should result in a greater level of scrutiny being placed on those stealing the information. Rosenblum stressed the importance of preventing data privacy and security issues from occurring, something she suggested could be achieved through initiatives such as education programs for senior citizens. Finally, Rosenblum explained that, given the pace of technological change experienced today, it is critical to review existing regulations to ensure they are still adequate. For example, Oregon recently sought to update regulations by amending its data breach notification law.

2. Little change to legislative and enforcement regimes is expected under the Trump administration

Neither Mithal nor Rosenblum seemed to expect drastic changes to their respective regulatory and enforcement regimes under the Trump administration. Both speakers noted that issues of data protection and privacy receive bipartisan support, with Mithal calling particular attention to the low proportion of the FTC’s cases in this policy area that have seen a commissioner dissent.

3. No significant changes expected at the FTC on “sensitive data” definition or enforcement based on consumer harm

Mithal stated that she does not believe that the FTC will be drastically reassessing its definition of “sensitive data,” despite Acting Chairwoman Olhausen’s recent concurring statement in the Vizio case indicating that she sees scope for a reevaluation. Mithal pointed to broad consensus within the agency about the core concepts of the definition. As a result, she said that she anticipates any reevaluation would only occur on the peripheral concepts of the term. Mithal also indicated that the the privacy division of the FTC already assesses consumer harm in its enforcement actions. Consequently, she does not believe that the Acting Chairwoman’s recent suggestions that the FTC should adopt an enforcement regime more closely linked to consumer harm will have a significant impact on privacy enforcement.

4. Enforcement priorities at the state and federal level are determined through consumer complaints and media sources

Rosenblum stated that consumer complaints play a significant role in determining the Oregon Attorney General office’s enforcement priorities. The office has set up a formal procedure for handling consumer complaints.

Meanwhile, Mithal suggested that the FTC listens to consumer complaints, but pays closer attention to informants and media sources such as tech blogs.

5. Cooperation between federal agencies and state attorneys general is influenced by available enforcement tools and subject matter expertise

Mithal reported that there is no firm rule on when the FTC will partner with state A.G.s in an enforcement proceeding. She explained that cooperation is most likely when the state’s A.G. can assist in getting relief under state law. Mithal also indicated that she believes there will be ongoing support for the memorandum of understanding that currently exists between the FTC and FCC.

Rosenblum stated that her office works predominately with the FTC (as opposed other federal agencies) on privacy issues. She also added that the Oregon A.G.’s office looks to collaborate with other state attorneys general where they may have particular areas of expertise.

Submitted by William Lee on February 10, 2017

by William Lee and Grant Nelson

FTC News

|> FTC penalizes Vizio for unfair and deceptive data collection practices

Smart TV manufacturer, Vizio, has settled with the FTC and New Jersey Attorney General for $2.2 million for collecting sensitive TV viewing data without affirmative opt-in consent. The settlement also requires that Vizio delete its old data and implement a comprehensive privacy program subject to biennial assessments. Acting FTC Chairwoman, Maureen Ohlhausen, issued a statement concurring with the settlement but indicating her intent to reexamine what constitutes “substantial injury” in the context of sensitive information about consumers.

NAI News

|> NAI, Industry Trade Groups Support FTC’s Notice And Choice Framework

The NAI joined with the DAA and other industry trade groups to defend the FTC’s Notice and Choice framework for providing consumers with the proper transparency and agency to make decisions about their privacy.

|> PrivacyCon 2017 Roundup

NAI attended the FTC’s annual PrivacyCon on January 12, 2017, and covered the research presented. Highlights for NAI members are outlined in our blog post. Because PrivacyCon exposes interesting research to a broader audience, and is typically dominated by academics with few companies submitting proposals to speak, we encourage members to become more involved and submit proposals to speak in order to share research at next year’s event.

Tech Updates

|> Adblocker Usage up 30% in 2016

Pagefair reports that mobile adblocker usage now exceeds desktop adblocker usage. Asking users to whitelist is met with varying success.

|> Windows 10 Includes New Privacy Controls

Windows 10’s privacy settings now includes direct links to Microsoft’s advertising opt out webpage. The Edge browser stores browsing history in Microsoft’s cloud, undeletable from the Edge browser, but erasable via Microsoft’s updated account privacy portal. Finally, Windows 10 prompts users on initial setup to choose whether to allow relevant ads. Solid writeup here.

|> Windows 10 Includes New Privacy Controls

Mozilla’s Focus browser is now available in 27 languages, in line with Mozilla’s return to focus on the Firefox Browser. The Firefox browser fell from 30% market share down to 12% in the last several years, but Mozilla is pivoting to bring Firefox back to its previous glory.