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2020: Compliance Progress Under the Updated NAI Code

After what has been an unusual year globally, the NAI compliance team is finalizing the 2020 compliance review process. This annual undertaking by all NAI member companies and NAI staff went on as scheduled, with no major complications, in spite of the many challenges this year has brought, including the global health crisis, resulting financial and staffing issues, newly enforced legislation in California, and large-scale technological changes announced by providers of popular mobile platforms and web browsers.

During the 2020 review process, NAI staff had an opportunity to engage with all member companies, which provided a clear picture of the current state of privacy and technology in the digital advertising ecosystem, including member compliance with NAI requirements, including those where enforcement has been deferred to allow the technology and infrastructure catch up with the NAI’s newest industry-leading protections.

When the NAI began enforcement of the 2020 Code of Conduct, on January 1st, 2020, the application of two key provisions of the Code was delayed, and ultimately rescheduled to January 1st, 2021.

First, the 2020 Code requires member companies engaged in Audience-Matched Advertising to provide a PII-based opt out from these activities for users on the NAI industry page. The technical development of, and integration with, this new tool had been delayed due to other competing demands and reduced staffing resources at member companies. The NAI is launching the beta version of its new opt-out tool early in the new year, with several member companies available at launch. Any remaining members who need to integrate with the tool will need to finalize this process before July 1, 2021.

Second, the 2020 Code raises the bar on the notice necessary for consumers to express informed Opt-In Consent to digital advertising uses of Precise Location Information. Because platform controls provided by device manufacturers do not always allow for the provision of such notice, NAI members must take technical and contractual steps to ensure that this notice can be presented to users by the mobile applications that collect location data. NAI staff and members have been working to operationalize these changes in the mobile digital advertising ecosystem over the past year, with significant progress in various areas of engagement. The NAI will soon be able to provide all members with access to code, generously provided by one of our Board members, that can be inserted into any company’s SDK in order to surface the required notice to users. The NAI has also worked with member companies to help with the adoption of new contractual measures intended to ensure this notice is provided by app publishers. The NAI believes that these developments allow for NAI staff to begin rolling out enforcement in 2021, while allowing members an opportunity to cure any related non-compliance discovered during the 2021 compliance review process.

The NAI is pleased with the progress its members have made in 2020 in spite of the many challenges to the digital advertising ecosystem, and the economy more broadly. We will be posting more details very soon regarding the launch of the new opt-out tool beta, so we encourage you to monitor this space for further developments.