Federal regulators are monitoring the digital ad industry’s cross-device tracking as new guidelines are unveiled by a top trade group.
The Digital Advertising Alliance, the industry group behind the Ad Choices icon, on Monday published guidelines that state companies who collect data from, say, an individual’s laptop in order to serve mobile ads on a cellphone must provide notification of the practice. It’s a bid for transparency in the still murky world of digital advertising.
According to the guidelines: “Entities collecting Multi-Site Data and Cross-App Data from a particular browser or device for use on a different computer or device should include in the notice on their own Web sites that describes their data collection and use practices the fact that data collected from a particular browser or device may be used with another computer or device that is linked to the browser or device on which such data was collected, or transferred to a non-Affiliate for such purposes.”
It’s partly a bid to play catch up as people increasingly use multiple devices when consuming online content, according to Lou Mastria, the DAA’s executive director.
"This guidance helps companies understand how the DAA's core Principles of notice and choice should be applied cross-device environments, and it will give consumers confidence that cross-device data practices will be fully disclosed and that the choices they make on each browser or device will be honored and independently enforced,” Mastria said in a news release.
DAA General Counsel Stu Ingis added: "This cross-device guidance makes clear that the DAA Principles apply to cross-device data practices and gives consumers information and control over the use of data from each device they own."
The DAA’s guidance came out the same day that the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop that addressed cross-device tracking. According to Ad Age, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said the agency was concerned because there’s a risk of the “unexpected and unwelcome use of data generated from cross-device tracking.”
Ramirez didn’t hint at any forthcoming policy changes, but said the FTC will continue to monitor the practice and explore the possibility of making it easier for consumers to opt out of cross-device tracking.