DAA To Start Enforcing Cross-Device Privacy Rules In February

The self-regulatory group Digital Advertising Alliance intends to start enforcing the industry's privacy code for cross-device tracking in February of 2017.

The code, unveiled in November of 2015, sets out privacy rules governing ad networks, publishers and other companies that collect data from one type of computer -- like a laptop, smartphone or tablet -- in order to serve ads to different devices used by the same consumer.

In general, online companies engaging in that type of "cross-device" targeting must notify users about the practice and allow them to opt out. This restriction means that if a user opts out on a laptop, marketers can't use data collected from that laptop to serve ads on any device linked to the person -- including smartphones and tablets associated with that user.

Even with the new principles, consumers who want to completely avoid targeted ads still must opt out on each device individually.

Digital Advertising Alliance executive director Lou Mastria says the organization is waiting until next February to begin enforcement in order to give ad companies time to incorporate the new code into their practices.

"We build in some time for companies to upgrade their systems and policies, to make sure they can be compliant," Mastria says.

The DAA previously waited more than two years between publishing its mobile privacy code and enforcing it.

The Better Business Bureau's Online Accountability program will enforce the cross-device tracking rules. That unit has publicly accused dozens of companies -- including marketing agency Harte Hanks and MDC Partners' agency trading desk Varick Media Management -- of failing to comply with the DAA's privacy rules.

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