Accountability Program Hits Milestone: 100 Decisions

Advertising Law

Congratulations to the Online Interest-Based Advertising (IBA) Accountability Program, which issued its 100th public action this week and a report documenting its work over the past eight years.

A summary of the first 100 actions found that the “vast majority” of companies cooperated when challenged by the self-regulatory body and made the recommended changes to their policies and practices to achieve compliance with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) Principles, the Accountability Program reported.

The actions included both traditional desktop computing (with 66 cases involving desktop-related issues) and mobile computing (with 13 cases involving mobile-related issues). The cases covered a variety of topics, but 84 percent focused on enhanced transparency for consumers, according to the report, and 38 percent addressed the need to provide consumers with choices about interest-based ads. Of the actions, 35 cases involved only first parties, 28 involved just third parties and, in six cases, the parties sat in both positions.

In one of the most recent cases, the Accountability Program worked with Texas-based men’s fashion company Mizzen and Main LLC. The action arose from regular monitoring activities by the program.

A review of the company’s site revealed multiple third-party advertisers collecting visitors’ data without an accompanying “enhanced notice” to users, the self-regulatory body said.

To achieve compliance with the DAA Principles, the company added an enhanced notice link labeled “IBA Policy,” separate from its “Privacy Policy” link, on each page of its site where third parties collect information for IBA. The link takes users directly to a new section of Mizzen’s revised privacy policy that discloses third-party tracking activity occurring on its site.

To read the 100-action report, click here.

To read the Mizzen and Main decision, click here.

Why it matters: “The Accountability Program’s eight-year history is one of effectiveness and growth,” Jon Brescia, head of the program, said in a statement about reaching the milestone. “This program has rigorously enforced the vital transparency and consumer control elements of the DAA Principles, changed the practices of major companies and expanded its technical capabilities. Taking a look at these 100 cases, we see some major themes: more than half the cases involved enhanced notice; a significant number included action on precise geographic location; several touched on safeguarding the privacy of children. This track record shows that industry is responsive to consumers’ concerns about online privacy.”