At a bare minimum, said FTC Commissioner Julie Brill, it's critical that consumers be given info about retail mobile tracking as it's happening so they can exercise some control over its use.
Brill's speech at the conference touched on a few key points, including: Consumers need the option to opt out of data collection, and they must have choice over how their data is collected and used.
She added that it's "somewhat surprising" to her that the ad-tech industry hasn’t been more motivated to offer consumers more tools to protect their privacy.
"The ad-tech industry -- you -- should be mindful that the FTC has pushed for more consumer control of data in the past 15 years," Brill said to the audience. She mentioned a quote from Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next. In an op-ed for Re/code, Kint wrote, "No business has ever succeeded long term without meeting consumer demands. So, instead of fighting consumers, let’s give them what they want: more transparency and better controls."
And on the topic of native advertising (for which the FTC released guidelines in December) Brill said, "We care because if consumers are unable to recognize ads, they are going to give greater weight to it and interact with it in ways they wouldn’t otherwise act with it."
She finished by saying she knew she was preaching to the choir (mentioning that many in the audience had concerns about maintaining customer loyalty), but that it’s in everybody’s interest to make sure consumers understand what's at stake.