DAA Wins Praise for Expansion of Self Reg Principles, Facebook Draws Fire for Offline Tracking

DAA Wins Praise From FTC, Expands Self-Regulatory Principles
Facebook Draws Fire from Rockefeller

Two years ago the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the American Advertising Federation, the Direct Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Network Advertising Initiative joined forces to create the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) to develop and enforce self-regulatory standards for online behavioral targeting. Compliance with the standards is monitored by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC) which cited Six companies — Forbes Media Extension, Martini Media, PredictAd, QuinStreet, Reedge and Veruta – for deficiencies in their opt-out mechanisms with each agreeing to follow NARC’s recommendation. In November, the DAA expanded its self-regulatory program to address multi-site data collecting agreeing to “prohibit the collection, use or transfer of Internet surfing data across Websites for determination of a consumer’s eligibility for employment, credit standing, healthcare treatment and insurance” and requiring greater transparency in this area.  The principles address concerns raised by  FTC Chairman Leibowitz in an October speech entitled “Consumer Privacy, the FTC, and the Rise of the Cyberazzi” in which he compared online data collection to vexatious paparazzi.

Leibowitz, who has been nominated for a second term as Commissioner by President Obama, praised the DAA’s efforts.  “Not every self-regulatory program includes real accountability, but the ones that do work better and generally are able to avoid a more regulatory heavy hand from Congress.”

Also in November were revelations that Facebook tracked users’ activities offline, which triggered the following response from  Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Rockefeller:  “[n]o company should track customers without their knowledge or consent, especially a company with 800 million users and a trove of unique personal data on its users.  If Facebook or any other company is falsely leading people to believe that they can log out of the site and not be tracked, that is alarming.”  Both House and Senate Committees intend to hold hearings on the issue.

More information: Initial DAA Press Release;  Summary of Multi-site Data Principles; Katy Bachman, NARC Moves to Enforce Industry’s Digitial Privacy Standards (AdWeek);  Wendy Davis, Leibowitz Praises DAA, But Wants Networks to Honor Do-Not-Track Headers (Daily Online Examiner);  Rockefeller, Bono-Mack Seek Explanations from Facebook (Technology Live)  NARC Director Discussing Compliance Review on Cyber Law and Business Report.