The Online Interest Based-Advertising Accountability Program, which enforces privacy principles for digital advertising, recently announced its 100th action. In announcing this landmark, the Accountability Program looked back at the nature of the cases it has brought, noting that it has covered both desktop and mobile issues, and its focus has fallen into a few key categories. These include providing consumers with “enhanced notice” of behavioral advertising activities and ensuring that opt-out tools exist (and that they work!). The Accountability Program also took the opportunity to remind online advertisers about its OBA Self-Regulatory Principles, and the guidance for applying the principles in a mobile environment.
A focus for the Accountability Program in the mobile environment has been precise location data, the collection of which under the guidance requires obtaining consent if that information is being gathered for behavioral advertising purposes. In its report, the Accountability Program also provided an update on its enforcement efforts for cross-device tracking, and reminded companies of its Cross-Device Guidance and related Compliance Warning. The Accountability Program enforces its self-regulatory principles through voluntary cooperation by industry members. However, to the extent that a company chooses not to cooperate, the Accountability Program will refer that company to the FTC for enforcement.
Putting it Into Practice: Companies who engage in interest-based advertising, whether online or on mobile devices, should keep in mind the requirements from the various Accountability Program principles and guidance. Ensuring enhanced notice and functional opt-outs is key, and in many circumstances obtaining consent may also be required.