IAB Prepares To Take Larger Role In Litigation, Lobbying Efforts

Capitol-Hill

Positioning itself to take a more active role in litigation that could have an impact on online advertisers, the IAB said on Friday that it has elevated Mike Zaneis to senior vice president, general counsel, from his previous position as vice president of public policy.

In his new role, Zaneis, along with Alison Pepper, director of public policy, will deal with routine legal matters -- like reviewing contracts for IAB events -- in addition to lobbying duties. By taking business matters in-house, the IAB will be able to shift resources to matters like filing friend-of-the-court briefs in online privacy cases, or in challenges to laws that restrict advertisers, Zaneis says.

"There are cases that could have broader implications for the industry, where we may want to weigh in," he says. For instance, Zaneis says, the IAB might consider getting involved in litigation about the use of cookies and Flash cookies to track people online. "We wouldn't want a bad precedent set in any one case," he says.

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Zaneis also says the IAB aims to broaden its lobbying and regulatory operations. "We'll look to expand in the coming year," he says. "Certainly we're going to continue to devote resources to public policy. The challenges there are only increasing."

The IAB's move comes amid a flurry of new privacy lawsuits against companies involved in online advertising. In the most recent case, filed this week, a New York resident alleged that the behavioral targeting network Interclick violated federal computer fraud laws and wiretap laws by using "history sniffing" technology to determine what other sites she had visited, and also using Flash cookies to recreate deleted HTP cookies.

In addition, Congress is considering legislation that could affect how online ad networks track Web users, the Commerce Department is expected to propose baseline privacy laws, and the Federal Trade Commission recently recommended that online ad companies implement a universal do-not-track mechanism.

In addition to promoting Zaneis, the IAB also said on Friday that it elevated Patrick Dolan to chief operating officer and David Doty to chief marketing officer.

 

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