Privacy Roundup Brings App and Website Publishers into Compliance with Industry Standards for Digital Privacy

Arlington, VA – September 26, 2018 – Today, the Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program released new cases that continue its mission to bring mobile app and website publishers into compliance with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Principles, which outline best practices for digital ad privacy. The privacy watchdog’s latest cases highlight its efforts to ensure that consumers are given “enhanced notice” about data collection for targeted advertising (also known as interest-based advertising or IBA) when they interact with brands on their smartphones and traditional computers.

The Accountability Program opened a formal inquiry into athletic footwear retailer Finish Line after a consumer complaint revealed that the company’s website lacked real-time enhanced notice of data collection for IBA. During its inquiry, the Accountability Program found that Finish Line’s mobile app also lacked enhanced notice and did not provide users with the ability to give their specific consent to the collection of their precise geolocation for IBA purposes. After learning of these issues, Finish Line worked with the Accountability Program to swiftly remedy them. Specifically, Finish Line:

• updated its website footer to provide enhanced notice to its website visitors;
• modified its privacy disclosures so users could receive enhanced notice when they visited its mobile app’s page in the Apple and Google app stores; and
• engineered a patch to its mobile app to provide users with the opportunity to consent to the collection of their location data.

Today’s second case concerns the website for Ledbury, an online men’s fashion company that the Accountability Program discovered in the course of its routine monitoring activities. The Accountability Program contacted Ledbury regarding the lack of enhanced notice of IBA on its website. Following receipt of the Accountability Program’s inquiry letter, Ledbury immediately added an enhanced notice link to its website footer directing consumers to a page where they could learn more about data collection for tailored advertising.

“Consumer-facing brands are in the best position to educate consumers about what is happening on their websites. We are pleased that these companies take advantage of that by pointing consumers to vital privacy information,” said Jon Brescia, Director of Adjudications and Technology for the Accountability Program.

Finally, the Accountability Program released an administrative disposition today describing its inquiry into the suite of websites owned by Penske Media Corporation. The inquiry revealed that the company had already begun implementing remedial measures to meet its compliance obligations prior to the Accountability Program contacting it.

Today’s releases bring to 93 the public actions taken by the Accountability Program.