Digital Advertising Alliance Adds Mobile Privacy Controls

adchoices-mobileThe Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has released two consumer-targeted apps designed to help people manage their ad preferences in mobile. One gives users the power to set preferences for ads in apps and the other does the same for mobile browsers.

The apps (scroll for screen shots) were previewed by the DAA at its annual summit Thursday and will be made available for free to consumers in the fall. According to a DAA spokesperson, they will give consumers the ability to choose between viewing targeted or generic ads, making it possible to opt out of receiving interest-based messaging in either the app- or browser-based ad space. Behavioral data will not be collected.

“The mobile choice tools reflect DAA’s continued fulfillment of the promise that it has made to policymakers, industry and, most importantly, consumers to bring transparency and control,” DAA Executive Director Lou Mastria said in a statement.

However the mobile permissions initiative faces several challenges.

Apps are targeted only to US users, and their effectiveness will be limited by whether consumers know about them, download them and actually use them. Lewis Ward, an analyst for IDC’s consumer team, said they have the potential of attracting tens of millions of downloads given the right conditions.

“I have no way of knowing how much the DAA is going to push the availability of this app. In some senses the fact that it is out there deals with the CYA angle a bit, but I suspect that people concerned about privacy may find this and there could be some viral uptake,” he said. “So even though this is a partial solution in one country, I think it is a good first step.”

The planned apps build on of the DAA’s existing opt-out mechanism for desktop browsers. That mechanism, exemplified by the Privacy Choices icon, lets consumers find out which participating companies are tracking behavior on a consumer’s given browser and uses cookies to disable custom ads for their machines. The program has 116 participating companies, including ad networks, major Internet brands and advertising analytics firms.

This is one of the first big moves DAA has made since last fall, when it chose to withdraw from the Do Not Track standard-making process led by the Worldwide Web Consortium. At the time, Mastria said that after working for two years with TPWG, DAA leaders didn’t believe the TPWG was “capable of fostering the development of a workable do not track solution.”

The DAA stated that it would go in its own direction developing consumer-choice options.



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