Blog

Submitted by NAI on February 8, 2016

By Leigh Freund, NAI President & CEO

Wow! Is it already February? It’s hard to believe that the holidays, CES, and a major DC blizzard are now in the rear view mirror! Here at NAI, we are busy on many fronts. We are invigorated by the start of a new year and are excited for the challenges and opportunities that 2016 will bring for NAI and our industry. I start this year confident that NAI continues to be a standard bearer for robust and responsible self-regulation. We are doing incredibly important work here, and I am more impressed than ever with the smart and dedicated staff members that make up the NAI team. They really are the best in the industry.

So, let’s get started! I am excited to share with you some updates from NAI headquarters and some of our plans for 2016.

Join Us on April 13 in San Francisco for the 2016 NAI Member Summit

In case you haven’t heard, NAI is headed west! We are thrilled to host our annual meeting, the NAI Summit, in San Francisco – the heart of digital technology and innovation. We have an amazing agenda planned, and are delighted that many top experts will be participating in high energy, interactive panels that will address the hottest issues for our industry. You won’t want to miss it! The Summit will be held on April 13 in San Francisco at The Village. This is a beautiful venue and there is plenty of space, so invite your colleagues and co-workers; they will not be disappointed. In fact, a registration discount is available for multiple attendees from the same company. To register, visit our Summit Registration Page. Stay tuned to the Summit event information page for the agenda and other details and follow us on social media using #NAISummit. For general inquiries regarding the Summit please contact William Lee at william@networkadvertising.org or 202-654-7072.

Sponsorship opportunities for the Summit are still available. Sponsoring the NAI Summit is a unique and valuable opportunity to demonstrate your support for NAI and to highlight your commitment to advancing new and innovative standards for privacy programs. We have a number of exciting sponsorship opportunities at every level, including some new avenues to promote your brand. All Summit sponsors will receive complimentary registration for at least one attendee, as well as other attendance and promotional benefits. Please contact Caitlin Andrews at caitlin.andrews@policyres.com or 202-828-7637 if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities.

Membership

We are starting 2016 with unprecedented diversity in NAI’s membership. Social media companies, demand and supply side platforms, data management platforms, mobile companies, and ad exchanges are all joining traditional media companies and ad networks as members of NAI. NAI was proud to welcome 13 new members in 2015; nearly triple the number of new members in 2014. This growth reflects not only the organic advancement of our industry, but also an important trend toward broader adoption of serious and responsible privacy practices. Our new members include cross-device companies like Drawbridge and BlueCava, mobile companies like Kargo and Yieldmo, and social media providers like LinkedIn, among many others. You’ll hear from some of our members – new and long-standing - in future blog posts.

We welcome the growing diversity of our membership - the entire digital advertising industry benefits when companies across the digital advertising ecosystem hold themselves to high standards of strong self-regulation and commit to responsible data collection, use, and management practices. NAI member companies acknowledge that transparency, choice, notice, and control are vital to our industry’s growth and to the continued evolution and innovation that have long marked digital advertising. While our members may have very different business models, they all share common values around privacy-friendly collection and use of consumer data for targeted advertising.

Policy Priorities

NAI was proud to serve as an industry voice in the Federal Trade Commission’s workshop on Cross Device Tracking in late 2015. If you haven’t seen your NAI team in action, you can find recaps of the panels we participated in here. Since the workshop, we have continued working with our members to transition their privacy programs as the digital landscape evolves to a multi-device, multi-platform experience.

As we look at our 2016 policy priorities, NAI will focus on the growing number of issues related to mobile technologies, including cross device tracking, geo-precise targeting, and the enforcement of the NAI Mobile Application Code.

We will also continue to ensure that our Code is meeting the challenges presented by new and emerging technologies. The recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas gave us a peek into the future. On display at the show were products that represent amazing advancements in connected devices (especially in the home), innovations for advertising products designed for addressable TVs, and enormous strides in the use of location-based marketing. All of these new technologies have implications for our members. We are working on a daily basis to make certain that the Code continues to help our industry meet challenges and opportunities.

2016 Compliance Report

Our compliance staff is working diligently on the 2016 NAI Compliance Report. The annual report, based on findings from the NAI staff’s comprehensive monitoring processes of our members during the 2015 compliance period, analyzes NAI member companies’ success in meeting their obligations under the provisions of the Code and demonstrating of their commitment to consumer privacy and industry best practices. We expect to publish the report in March.

As you can see, we have a great deal to accomplish in 2016! While technology continues to evolve and change, what won't change is NAI's best-in-class technological expertise and commitment to sound and responsible data use and collection practices. We are looking forward to working with you -- and for you -- throughout the year, and to showcasing the incredible value of NAI membership. We will continue to advocate for our member companies before policymakers at the FTC and Congress, and will consistently demonstrate how the NAI Code is the best method of effective, enforceable self-regulation for the digital advertising industry today.

Keep checking our blog for updates and announcements.

Submitted by NAI on January 15, 2016

As detailed in previous blog posts on this topic, the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) believes that the collection and use of “Sensitive Data” - particularly health or medical information - raise unique privacy concerns that merit special attention by our members. While targeted health or medical marketing information can offer important benefits to the recipient, we believe that the collection of Sensitive Data for Interest-Based Advertising should require a consumer’s Opt-In Consent.

Thus, the 2015 Update to the NAI Code of Conduct (Code) requires NAI member companies to obtain Opt-In Consent when collecting Sensitive Data across web domains and using it for Interest-Based Advertising (IBA) or Retargeting. The 2015 Update to the NAI Mobile Application Code (App Code) applies the same restrictions to Sensitive Data when used for Cross-App Advertising (CAA) and Retargeting, and NAI began enforcing that requirement on January 1, 2016.

It is important to note, however, that the Code and App Code specifically apply only to the use of data collected on unaffiliated web domains or mobile applications for IBA. As a result, some data sources, such as data collected offline and integrated for targeted advertising across websites or apps, are not covered by the Code or App Code. Those practices thus fall outside of our current enforcement efforts unless an NAI member has voluntarily committed to adhere to our Opt-In requirement for Sensitive Data regardless of the data source.

We recognize that some medical conditions are likely to be particularly sensitive or private in nature to many consumers. Targeting ads to specific users based on inferences about such conditions can make users uncomfortable or alert their friends, family, or coworkers about conditions the user may prefer to keep private. Additionally, some consumers may not fully understand the current scope and limits of the Sensitive Data principle in the NAI Code and App Code, based on the source of the data.

Accordingly, NAI encourages all NAI member companies to apply the NAI Code and App Code’s Sensitive Data principles to all user-level targeted advertising across unaffiliated web domains or mobile applications, even if the source of that data is not currently covered by the NAI Code and App Code. As NAI stated previously, our members have been leaders in responding to evolving privacy concerns – like concerns about how health data is used in marketing - by supporting revisions of the NAI Code and adoption of a new App Code. We expect that future updates to the NAI Code and App Code will establish a Code requirement to help ensure that only users who express Opt-In Consent receive targeted ads regarding sensitive medical and health condition, regardless of the data source. In the meantime, a vast majority of our member companies already embrace this best practice, and we applaud their efforts.

Submitted by NAI on December 14, 2015

NAI was honored to represent our members and serve as an industry voice at the recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Cross-Device Tracking Workshop held on November 16 in Washington, DC. As described by the FTC, the workshop was organized to “examine the practice of collecting data through [multiple] devices and the potential wide-ranging effects on consumer privacy.”

NAI has been working with our member companies as the digital landscape has evolved toward a multi-device, multi-platform environment. We are closely examining our members' products and offerings, and the privacy and technology challenges presented by this technology. At the same time, we have been working to educate policymakers in Washington, including the FTC, on cross-device linking technology, and our members’ efforts to create new technology-enhanced advertising products in a privacy-friendly way.

I participated on the Policy Perspectives on Cross-Device Tracking panel and Jurgen J. Van Staden, NAI’s Director of Policy, participated on a panel entitled, A Technological Perspective on Cross-Device Tracking. The workshop included a lively discussion and debate among panelists on a variety of issues. Here are Jurgen and my views on the event:

  • As I said at the event, cross-device linking, and the online behavioral advertising it enables, is not evil. Our members are not deploying it with ill intent. Online advertising fuels an innovative, $150 billion industry that supports the Internet economy, and enables millions of consumers to enjoy and utilize free content, commerce, and tools.
  • Cross-device linking is not a new form of online advertising; it's a technical evolution within digital advertising itself, and it enables a seamless, consistent experience across a consumer's many different devices. NAI members provide a vital service to the internet economy by acting as the pipes through which advertisers are able to reach the right consumers at the right time - and publishers are able to monetize their sites - thereby enabling the continuity of the free Internet we all enjoy today.
  • All parties in the internet ecosystem have the obligation to be transparent about their data collection and use, for all purposes including advertising, and to educate consumers to ensure that they understand how their data is being used.
  • The use of securitized data, through technologies such as hashing and salting, allows companies to reap the benefits of the data without sacrificing strong privacy protections, particularly when backed with additional controls such as contractual provisions, data minimization and retention restrictions, and self-regulatory restrictions against re-identification.
  • NAI members are subject to these additional controls. They are required to implement reasonable security controls for any and all data that is transferred and processed for cross-device linking purposes. In addition, NAI members employ data minimization and data retention restrictions to minimize the amount of data used and processed for cross-device linking. Further, NAI members commit to maintain non- Personally Identifiable Information (PII) as non-PII, and must pass on such restrictions to companies with whom they work to prevent the downstream re-identification of data.

NAI members engage in responsible practices, and provide these (and other) additional controls, all within a framework of the NAI Code of Conduct.

Stay tuned to our blog for updates as we continue to work with our members on this important issue.

Submitted by NAI on December 8, 2015

 

* More information coming soon!