NAI Technology Policy
What is the NAI's policy on "Flash cookies" and similar technologies?
NAI members have confirmed that they are not using Flash cookies for online behavioral advertising (OBA). The NAI in 2010 took the position that its members should not use locally-shared objects (LSOs)* like Flash cookies for OBA, Ad Delivery & Reporting, and/or Multi-Site Advertising, until such time as web browser tools allow for the same level of transparency and control as is available today for standard HTTP cookies.
In addition to LSOs, there are other alternatives to standard HTTP cookies that may enable data collection and use for OBA, Multi-site Advertising, and Ad Delivery & Reporting purposes. The NAI generally believes that any technology used for such purposes should afford users an appropriate degree of transparency and control. This policy is consistent with the NAI's goal of providing users with insight into the specific technologies used to collect information for the purposes covered by the NAI code. This approach also affords flexibility in the future to evaluate innovative technologies not yet generally in use in the online advertising marketplace.
The web cache is one example of a browser-based technology that can be used to store persistent information. As with LSOs, the NAI takes the position that the web browser cache does not currently afford users an appropriate degree of transparency and control, and that such browser-based storage technologies should not be used by NAI members for OBA, Multi-site Advertising, or Ad Delivery & Reporting purposes until such time as these technologies allow for the same level of transparency and control as is available today for standard HTTP cookies.
*LSOs are technologies that allow for the persistent storage and retrieval of information in relationship to a user's web browsing experience, but that are typically not exposed via native browser user controls (such as those presently available for HTTP cookies). Examples include, but are not limited to, IE Browser Helper Objects (BHOs), Adobe Flash objects, and Microsoft Silverlight objects. Under the NAI's policy, LSOs may continue to be used for settings management purposes (such as user preferences and age verification).