First 100 Actions: Most Companies Fixed Data Privacy Issues When Challenged, Says BBB

First 100 Actions: Most Companies Fixed Data Privacy Issues When Challenged, Says BBB

Record Shows Nearly Total Compliance with Industry’s Adchoices Program; Two New Cases Issued on Web Publishers

The first 100 public actions addressing digital privacy related to interest-based advertising show the willingness of digital advertisers and publishers to comply with self-regulatory standards. When challenged, the vast majority of companies cooperated and made the recommended changes to their policies and practices, according to a retrospective report released today by the BBB‘s Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program.

The report was released along with the 99th and 100th actions made by the Accountability Program, which enforces the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Principles. DAA manages the AdChoices program, best known for its blue triangle logo that is seen on more than a trillion online ads every month.

“The Accountability Program’s eight-year history is one of effectiveness and growth. 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,” said Jon Brescia, head of the Accountability Program with the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “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.”

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100-Action Report

To commemorate reaching 100 actions, the Accountability Program examined more than eight years of work enforcing the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Principles, a set of best practices for online privacy, and pulled out several major themes.

The Accountability Program has tackled cases involving more sensitive types of data—for example, precise geolocation or children’s data—as well as adapting its monitoring capabilities to address cross-device IBA and video ads.

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Today’s Cases

The two cases released involve the digital advertising practices of the genealogy and genetic testing company MyHeritage Ltd. and the men’s fashion company Mizzen and Main LLC. Both companies worked with the Accountability Program to achieve compliance with the DAA Principles.

The Accountability Program encountered the MyHeritage site during the course of its regular monitoring activities and discovered a number of third-party advertising companies collecting visitors’ data without an accompanying “enhanced notice” to users. After the Accountability Program reached out to MyHeritage, the company swiftly updated its website to add an enhanced notice link that directs users to a new privacy notice describing IBA.

The Accountability Program’s second case concerns the Mizzen and Main website, which the Accountability Program discovered during routine monitoring. After the Accountability Program contacted Mizzen and Main with concerns about third-party data collection, the company immediately worked to add an enhanced notice link to its website and updated its privacy policy to describe IBA, resolving its issue under the DAA Principles.

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