NAI Bans Under-16 Behavioral Targeting

Advertising Law

Pursuant to a new code of conduct, the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) has banned members from the behavioral targeting of consumers under the age of 16.

Currently, the self-regulatory group prohibits members from using behavioral targeting techniques to serve ads to those younger than 13 and requires members to notify consumers about data collection on websites, apps or devices for advertising purposes.

The new code—set to take effect next year—increases the minimum age by three years. It also requires members to obtain consumers’ opt-in consent before collecting and targeting “sensitive” data (such as health information and geolocation data) for ad targeting, ad delivery and reporting.

Specific to television viewing, the updated code of conduct mandates that members obtain opt-in consent before collecting all television viewing activity. The code also established a “first-of-a-kind” requirement, with members obligated to disclose the political audience targeting segments they use for digital advertising.

Training and education for NAI members will take place over the next six months in preparation for the new code’s January 1, 2020, effective date.

To read the new Code of Conduct, click here.

Why it matters: Although minor tweaks were made to the prior code over the years, the 2020 version marks the most significant revision to the NAI’s code since 2013, the organization said. “Since then the market has witnessed a rapid maturation of the mobile advertising ecosystem, expanding use of offline data for online ad targeting, the proliferation of linking devices for targeted advertising (including on televisions) and an evolution in the dialogue regarding data identifiability due to technological advances,” the NAI said. “These issues are addressed in the revised code.”