Commentary

Digital Advertising Alliance Unveils Mobile Privacy Options

Given widespread concerns about consumer privacy in both online and mobile media, pretty much the only way to fend off unhelpful government regulation is for marketers, advertisers, publishers and tech companies to voluntarily come together and offer consumers robust options for controlling how much information is gathered about them.

The Digital Advertising Alliance is helping keep the industry on the right side of the privacy issue with this week’s unveiling of two tools that should help consumers control mobile privacy -- one for apps and one for the mobile Web. Both options allow consumers to adjust their privacy settings for individual companies or for all companies at once, using the DAA Icon to confirm that a mobile Web or app experience is compliant.

The first, AppChoices, is available as a free download from Google Play, Apple App Store, and Amazon Store, and allows users to set their preferences for data collection and use across apps for interest-based advertising and other uses. The second tool, the DAA Consumer Choice Page for Mobile Web, is essentially a mobile-optimized version of the desktop Consumer Choice Page offering the same options for mobile sites.

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The mobile privacy program will be enforced by the DAA’s independent accountability partners, the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Direct Marketing Association.

Of course, while the DAA is helping marketers do their due diligence for consumer privacy, there’s always the question of how many consumers are actually aware of these options -- or even that their personal information is being gathered in the first place. Last year research from Parks Associates showed that even after a consumer awareness campaign, just 6% of survey participants were familiar with the DAA privacy icon in 2013, up from 5% in 2011. However, the DAA noted the results of a separate survey, performed by the Annenberg School for Communication, which found that 20% of respondents recalled seeing the icon.

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