Submitted by Marc Groman on August 22, 2014 this week listed the “15 People In NYC Who Are Changing Advertising That You Need to Know About.”  We are beaming with pride here at NAI as eight of these 15 all-stars are from NAI member companies.  

AlleyWatch notes that these are the people “who are pushing the platforms and brands and the envelope right now. Get to know who they are and be nice. These may be the investors of tomorrow who just might write that check that funds the Big Idea.”  You can read the story here.

Congratulations to the following thought leaders on the list who represent NAI member companies (click names to read about each of these leaders on

Joe Apprendi, Co-Founder and CEO, Collective, Inc. 

Eric Franchi, Co-founder and Chief Evangelist, Undertone 

Sloan Gaon, CEO, PulsePoint 

Brian O’Kelley, Co-founder and CEO, AppNexus 

Andy Monfried, Founder and CEO, Lotame

Erika Nardini, CMO, AOL Advertising 

Evan Simeone, VP Engineering, PubMatic 

Joe Zawadzki, CEO, MediaMath

We always say that it is our members who set NAI apart from other organizations in the online advertising space.  The AlleyWatch list is further proof that our member ad tech providers are playing a critical and leadership role in the digital advertising ecosystem.  

Do you want to join these trend-setters as an NAI member?  Become an NAI member today!

Submitted by Shaq Katikala on August 19, 2014

A blog post by Shaq Katikala, NAI's Compliance and Technology Fellow.



The Network Advertising Initiative’s Mobile Application Code is scheduled to go into effect in 2015. Under this code, NAI members must obtain a user’s Opt-in Consent when using Precise Location Data for Cross-App Advertising. NAI acknowledges that definitions in the mobile space are challenging, including the task of determining what is truly “precise.” We want to provide our members with concrete definitions and detailed guidance to enable their compliance with the Code; however, we also do not want to be overly prescriptive in a way that could impede innovation and get too far ahead of the marketplace.

This is important work for our industry. The use of precise location information - and the potentially sensitive nature of precise location information collected about a user over time – is a concern in Washington, DC and the issue has gained attention in the media.

That’s a tough nut to crack in this space, but we are not daunted by the challenge. 

NAI will continue to work on these issues with our members and other associations. We are encouraging our members to engage in the discussion. NAI’s Codes are developed by the membership for the membership.

If you aren’t n NAI member yet, please join our efforts to develop high standards and robust compliance. 

Submitted by Marc Groman on August 8, 2014

According to a post on Adotas, a recent survey of 1,000 consumers by the firm Punchtab found that “nearly a third of consumers (27%) say they are likely to allow retailers to track their mobile location in exchange for valuable coupons, shorter checkout times and sales promotion.” In addition, “while privacy was the primary concern against mobile tracking followed by excessive marketing, a growing number of consumers are embracing location-based offers as long as there is something tangible to be gained in doing so.”

The potential benefits of the responsible use of location information for both brands and consumers are very exciting. I’m thrilled that many consumers are embracing the use of location data and understanding the value exchange.

As the article points out, mobile tracking creates legitimate privacy concerns, particularly if a profile is created about a user’s precise location over time. I’m pleased that devices and platforms offer consumers tools to control how and when location data is collected and shared.

I completely agree with the author that it is incumbent on industry to educate consumers and offer users choices about how their location data may be collected, used, and shared. Choice is critical.

However, as a privacy lawyer, I do want to caution against placing a disproportionate amount of emphasis on the opt-in versus opt-out debate. The author places a strong emphasis on opt-in policies but, as every consumer advocate knows, a poorly executed opt-in mechanism can be far worse for privacy than a well-developed and easy-to-use opt-out tool. It is not that difficult to encourage consumers to click a button, and if you are going to the effort to ask for consent, some may seek opt-in consent for everything.

To be certain, opt-in consent can be important and NAI requires its members to obtain opt-in consent for the use of precise location information for Interest-Based Advertising. NAI also believes that we need a thoughtful and comprehensive set of industry best practices for the collection and use of sensitive categories of data and that includes precise location information. We should have self-regulatory standards around choice, transparency, data use, data retention, and information security, and then back up those standards with compliance and accountability.

The possibilities for consumers and business alike are endless if we as an industry do this right. If we don’t do it right, not only are we are looking at a future of Congressional hearings, proposed regulations and legislation and state and federal enforcement actions, but worst of all we may lose consumers’ confidence.

Do you want to be part of the solution? Then join us!

Submitted by Marc Groman on August 6, 2014

A recent article on the Broadcasting & Cable website reported on comments by the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) to the White House’s National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) that industry self-regulation has been a failure and that legislation is the only solution to the complex privacy issues we face today. 

I would like to share some observations about the issue of privacy and self-regulation.  First, privacy is indeed a critically important issue today both with respect to the public sector and private sector. The White House should be applauded for its report on privacy -- a thoughtful and balanced analysis of the issue and potential concerns.

I strongly disagree with the notion that self-regulation has been a failure. Self-regulation, such as the NAI, has helped promote best practices and higher standards for many business models. There is certainly more to be done -- standards need to be raised, the scope of Codes of Conduct need to be expanded, and more companies need to step up to the plate and engage – and I don't think anyone would suggest otherwise.  That does not mean self-regulation is a failure, it's an ongoing process.

I am not necessarily opposed to privacy legislation (heresy to say on K Street), but reality and history suggest that it’s not a good bet to rely on Congress to solve privacy issues.

I know from personal experience that the challenges to passing privacy legislation are immense.  I am one of the few people who can claim to have drafted an omnibus privacy bill.  I drafted the consumer privacy bill when I worked as counsel to the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  I can remember the challenges we faced with issues such a preemption, enforcement by the states, private rights of action, exemptions for small business, the scope of rulemaking authority, and how to handle overlap with current privacy regimes like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Cable Act, and HIPAA, just to name a few.  The reality is that good legislation is nearly impossible after every stakeholder, every Congressional committee with jurisdiction, and every interest group weighs in to protect their interests.

Given that current reality, it would be a mistake to dismiss self-regulation as an important piece of any proposal to address big data and privacy.  Even if you’d prefer a comprehensive privacy bill, as CDD Executive Director Jeff Chester does, we should still work together on effective self-regulation.  We need self-regulation to continue, and, yes, we need responsible actors in industry to step up to the plate so that we can enjoy the benefits and opportunities presented by big data, while still respecting important values like transparency, consumer choice, and privacy. I'm personally eager to work on those issues with industry, consumer advocates, the FTC, and others.

Finally, I want to mention another issue – I commend the White House for its recent focus on practices that could result in discrimination. It is an important issue that we must tackle as more and more data is collected from a wide range of sources.  Last year, NAI became the first self-regulatory body to add into Code of Conduct "sexual orientation" to our definition of "sensitive data" and I hope others in industry follow. 

(To read a version of these comments that I posted on the Broadcasting & Cable website, click here.)