FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny Talks Up X-Device Technology, Consumer Expectations & Protections at DAA Summit 2015

July 6, 2015

[In the photo, DAA Board Member Dan Jaffe, group executive vice president, government relations, Association of National Advertisers (standing), concludes his introduction of Federal Trade Commissioner Terrell McSweeny (seated, right) and DAA General Counsel Stu Ingis of Venable, LLP.]

Big Idea:  Anticipate consumer privacy impact with consideration and adoption of new technology. DAA Principles are technology neutral – and thus apply as marketers innovate.

How we approach new technology was a recurring theme at the sold-out Digital Advertising Alliance Summit 2015, which took place on June 2 at Ogilvy offices in New York.  Our policy keynote speaker Commissioner Terrell McSweeny of the Federal Trade Commission urged us to carry on the good and necessary work of keeping pace with change – and we see ourselves acting the role of reading the market and anticipating privacy impact.

At the Summit, we had more than 140 participants, all of whom reflect the landscape of responsible data collection and use in interest-based advertising:  ad networks, mobile networks, consumer brands, business brands, publishers, ad agencies, marketers and ad tech companies.  They had a compelling reason to be here, the business need to drive relevance consumers. DAA helps enable respected tools and safeguards in the marketplace, to deliver transparency to the consumer, and to provide enhanced notice and choice to consumers whenever, wherever, they interact with the Net and mobile applications.

We were proud to have Commissioner McSweeny sharing her perspectives, too.  In a discussion with Stu Ingis, general counsel to DAA and partner, Venable LLP, McSweeny underscored the FTC’s focus on ad technology, and its utility and impact on consumers.  She also noted that self-regulatory enforcement provides a valuable role – complementing government enforcement, as technology and consumer behaviors change over time.

“The mobile space is absolutely fascinating, it’s clearly taking over where consumers are,” Commissioner McSweeny said.”

DAA echoes these sentiments and released two new mobile-focused tools earlier this year, among them the first industry-level platform for cross-app data collection choice, AppChoices.

McSweeny offered the mobile space as one example where the Commission has taken a fact-based approach to examining technology, understanding how consumer data is collected and used, and ensuring the marketplace is affording consumer privacy protections. She also called attention to the FTC’s November 15 Cross-Device Workshop, a search for facts as to what technology and brands are doing, and trying to do.

“You are all on the front lines of it, [cross-device linking] is an incredibly complicated area,” Commissioner McSweeny said. “At the end of the day, I would encourage everybody in the room who’s playing a role in thinking about how this technology works and how consumers are impacted by it, to make sure you’re thinking about it from a consumer’s perspective.”

It is validating to hear key stakeholders such as Commissioner McSweeny call on industry to examine privacy implications of new technologies and innovations in our field – when we have done so in advance. Previously, DAA had explored the application of its Principles to the cross-device area, an area we will continue to focus on during this year and beyond – and we rolled out AppChoices, too, even as cross-app data collection is nascent.  Our Principles Committee and our Board help to keep DAA on point.

“People are making good choices,” she said. “Privacy-by-design and security-by-design – if these policies are implemented along the way and not as a last-ditch effort – are good.  Conversations should be happening throughout the process.”

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