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New Mobile Privacy Rules Proposed

29 May, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON – The Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), a group that promotes online privacy and freedom, gave its members a draft version of a code of conduct last week regarding how to handle information collected from apps.

NAI Executive Director Marc Groman says the draft rules focus on behavioral targeting, or serving ads based on data collected across more than one app. The organization expects to finalize its Mobile Application Code this June.

The proposed mobile rules require companies to let people opt out of receiving behaviorally targeted ads on mobile devices.

Even if people opt out, the proposed code lets ad networks continue to collect data “non-personally identifiable” data for some purposes like analytics, ad optimization and frequency capping. The NAI says data connected to a particular device – as opposed to a person – is “non-personally identifiable.”

But the NAI also proposes requiring companies to either discard that information, or else “de-identify” it (meaning that it's no longer linkable to particular devices), as soon as the data is no longer needed.

The NAI's proposal would require members to obtain opt-in consent before collecting personally identifiable information (names, addresses and phone numbers) and “sensitive” information, including financial account numbers, and precise information about medical conditions.

The draft rules also address information unique to mobile like geo-location data and “personal directory data” – which includes address books, photos or videos stored on devices and logs of phone calls. The NAI proposes that its members obtain opt-in consent before collecting either geo-location data or personal directory data.

The proposed new code also requires member companies to inform consumers about the details of cross-app advertising. Among other items, companies must inform consumers about the type of data collected, how it will be transferred to third parties, and how long it will be retained.

NAI membership includes 90 ad networks and other ad tech companies that collect data or serve ads. The umbrella group Digital Advertising Alliance – which includes the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Direct Marketing Association, Association of National Advertisers, and American Association of Advertising Agencies – also is expected to unveil mobile privacy guides soon.

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