Last updated: May 16, 2013
The NAI requires all member companies to comply with the NAI's Self-Regulatory Code of Conduct, which imposes notice, choice, and data protection requirements with respect to the collection and use of data for Interest-Based Advertising. As part of its enforcement mission, the NAI has created a compliance program that incorporates public attestations of compliance, year-round technical monitoring, annual reviews, a consumer complaint process, sanctions where appropriate, and annual reporting to help ensure that member companies keep their promises to abide by the NAI Code. The following is an overview of our program.
Applicants to the NAI must undergo rigorous pre-certification reviews. NAI staff reviews each applicant’s data collection, use, and sharing practices as well as their public representations concerning such practices. NAI staff also tests the technical functionality of applicants’ opt-out mechanisms, and ensures compatibility with the NAI industry opt-out tool. NAI staff review relevant contract provisions to help ensure that adequate notice and choice are provided to consumers where data is collected and used for Interest-Based Advertising and that data is protected in accordance with NAI standards. NAI staff also provide guidance and best practice suggestions to help companies go above and beyond the requirements of the NAI Code.
Membership in the NAI requires public representations, subject to enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission, that a company's business practices comply with each aspect of the Code that applies to its business model. In addition to reviewing the Interest-Based Advertising-related business practices and policies of all applicants to the NAI, NAI staff continues to review companies after they are members of the NAI. Each year after becoming members of the NAI, companies are required to renew their attestations to comply with the NAI Code and to undergo annual compliance reviews. These reviews proactively examine companies' Interest-Based Advertising-related business practices and public representations against the requirements of the Code. During these annual reviews, NAI staff evaluate members based on their consumer-facing policies and other public representations, as well as their underlying technology infrastructures, business-to-business contracts, and internal practices and procedures. The review process also serves to educate and remind businesses about their ongoing responsibilities under the NAI Code, and the sanctions that can result if they do not honor their commitments.
In addition to these annual reviews, NAI staff monitor members throughout the year. Staff looks for any evidence of non-compliance with the NAI Code, which can come from consumers, press, or advocates, or from NAI staff's own technical monitoring.
You can learn more about our compliance program by reading the NAI's past annual reports, above.
Web users who believe that one or more NAI member company has violated the NAI Code may register a complaint with NAI staff. NAI staff reviews and, if warranted, investigates these complaints. Our goal is to identify any evidence of non-compliance with the NAI Code, and to remedy issues as quickly as possible.
When a consumer complaint or other inquiry is received, NAI staff first seeks to determine whether it concerns an NAI member, and whether it relates to compliance with the NAI Code. NAI staff resolves the vast majority of users' questions and concerns by responding directly to the users. If the complaint raises a technical problem or significant concern that NAI staff cannot remedy alone, NAI staff refers the matter to the affected member company. If the complaint alleges material non-compliance with the NAI Code and the member company does not resolve the issue within a reasonable period of time, the matter may be referred to the NAI Board of Directors with a recommendation for sanctions, as discussed below. To read more about our consumer complaints procedures, click here.
In addition to proactively reviewing member companies through the annual compliance process and investigating user complaints as outlined above, NAI staff also investigates all public allegations of non-compliance with the NAI Code, whether raised by media reports, advocates, academics, or any other source. If any investigation results in a finding by NAI staff that a member company has committed a material violation of the NAI Code, NAI staff may refer the matter to the NAI Board of Directors with a recommendation for sanctions. The member is given the opportunity to address the Board to rebut a staff finding of non-compliance. If the NAI Board determines that the member has violated the NAI Code, the NAI may impose sanctions, including suspension or revocation of membership, and refer the matter to the Federal Trade Commission.
The NAI produces and publishes annual reports summarizing the results of its compliance reviews, its testing of members' technology to ensure that opt-out tools function properly, and of consumer complaints received.
To learn more about the NAI's enforcement procedures, click here. Links to the NAI's published annual reports are provided above.
*Please return to this page frequently to learn of updates to our Compliance program and to review the annual reports generated by the NAI.