DAA Accountability Partners Click Play on Mobile Video Ad Transparency

August 28, 2018

Last week, the CBBB, one of DAA's independent accountability partners, announced an instructive decision regarding digital video ads as well as touching on DAA obligations related to precise location data.

The investigation (and subsequent decision) was initiated after a routine monitoring process that included an analysis of application network traffic.  The Council of Better Business Bureau's (CBBB) Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) reported that, through testing, the SDK [software development kit] in question failed to provide enhanced notice and control as described in the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) Principles. Additionally, the ASRC stated that the SDK lacked in the specificity necessary to obtain consent from consumers for the collection and use of precise location data as well as lacking instructions on how to withdraw consent. These are important privacy controls of the DAA Principles and specifically, the Application of Self-Regulatory Principles to the Mobile Environment.

Through the compliance process, Vdopia, Inc.'s Chocolate, a mobile video ad exchange and mobile SDK mediation platform, updated its data privacy practices to ensure consumers are provided with enhanced transparency and control when video ads tailored to their interests are served through mobile apps. Chocolate also fully embraced the DAA’s Self-Regulatory Principles for interest-based advertising (IBA) and made revisions to its privacy disclosures, opt-out mechanisms, and contracts with third parties.

In announcing the decision, Jon Brescia, director of adjudications and technology for the Accountability Program, said, “Self-regulation can keep pace with the evolving mobile ads market, adapting general privacy principles to meet novel and complex ad implementations. Today’s decision is proof of that.”

DAA Executive Director Lou Mastria added, “As consumers continue to increase their demand for digital video and the use of services tied to precise location data, DAA’s compliance regime has adapted to monitor and enforce DAA’s controls to such technologies and to help spur privacy-friendly business models. We are pleased that the ASRC continues to provide this unique, effective independent enforcement of DAA Principles in this important and rapidly-growing space.”

In its December 2017 Compliance Warning, the Accountability Program determined that technical standards for video advertising were sufficiently established to support the delivery of up-front, real-time notice of IBA—or “enhanced notice”—alongside video ads. Since Chocolate does not control the ad experience directly, it must work with its partners to ensure consumers receive enhanced notice, a practice fully contemplated by the DAA Principles. By updating its agreements with partner companies up and down the ad-serving chain, Chocolate is doing its part to ensure that enhanced notice is provided to consumers when video ads are served in mobile apps and that the consumer’s consent is obtained before precise geolocation data is collected and used for IBA purposes.

This case decision brings to 90 the public actions taken by the ASRC’s Accountability Program.


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