I am pleased to report that our 2016 NAI Summit was a huge success! It was great to see so many of our members at our first West Coast Summit in San Francisco, California.
The venue, the weather, the compelling programming – everything was terrific! I have a few favorite moments and some thoughts about the day that I’d like to share. But first, one of the highlights of the day for me was the exciting announcement that NAI membership has crossed the triple digit mark for the first time! We were thrilled to welcome our 100th member, as well as a few additional members, just this month, and we have a vibrant new membership pipeline; all clear signs that NAI continues to grow and is a strong, vibrant and relevant organization.
Achieving the milestone of 100 members is great, but it also reminds me why we’re here – we are committed to meaningful and responsible consumer privacy for the digital advertising ecosystem. It’s a huge task and mission, and one I take very seriously. The NAI Summit always provides an opportunity to reflect on where this commitment has taken us and where we still need to go, and allows us here at NAI to renew our commitment to providing real value to our members and to the digital advertising industry overall.
With that said, here are a few of my takeaways from the 2016 NAI Summit:
- First, and most importantly, we cannot rest on our laurels. The NAI Code and guidance are living documents – and we need to keep them that way! It is imperative that our policies continue to evolve to keep pace with new industry technologies. Fortunately, we have top-shelf technologists on the NAI staff as well as an unprecedented level of diversity among our member companies and their business practices. Ongoing collaboration and interaction with our members, as well as continuing policy adjustments and clarifications, will help us keep ahead of the curve and ensure that our Code remains principled and inclusive of new technology.
- We also must redouble our efforts to educate consumers, regulators, legislators, and others in our industry about what we're doing and why. New technologies offer both exciting opportunities and significant privacy challenges. Increased transparency around NAI’s robust compliance and enforcement efforts, with members as well as regulators, will help us remain an organization that gains consumer trust and reinforces our commitment to serious and responsible privacy practices.
- State regulators care about privacy, too. NAI collaborates regularly with our colleagues in government, but we often focus on federal policymakers and regulators. Increasingly, state officials are looking to develop regulations to protect consumer privacy. This was made clear at the NAI Summit in remarks by Justin Erlich, Special Assistant Attorney General to California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. NAI will be increasing our interaction with state regulators to demonstrate the value of self-regulation for cutting-edge, real-time privacy protection.
- Best-in-class privacy programs are difficult and challenging, but worth every effort. The entire digital advertising industry benefits when companies from across the ecosystem commit to responsible data collection, use and management practices. It is a constant challenge to craft policies with privacy principles that allow different companies and business models to participate. But when we get it right, it’s a win for everyone.
- We must include engineers and product experts in our ongoing privacy discussions. Businesses and consumers are best served by products and platforms that include privacy by design. When the full team is included in discussions, the full range of expertise is available, helping us make policies that really work. We are already hard at work on new ways to incorporate engineers and product experts in our working groups, technology discussions, and even next year’s Summit – stay tuned!
So, we have a lot of work to do! But, as with every opportunity we have to interact with the incredible talent our member companies employ, we are left energized and excited about the future. We are incorporating everything we learned into our plans for 2016 and beyond.
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