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Report: Ad nets sticking to privacy, data guidelines

All 92 ad network members of the Network Advertising Initiative substantially complied with the group’s consumer privacy code in 2014, according to the group’s report released Monday.

The code, which has gotten stricter over the past few years, requires ad networks to post data collection and retention practices and give consumers the option to opt-out of tracking. Nets also agree to track only for marketing purposes and agree to collection restrictions on personal and sensitive data, such as health, which require consumers to opt-in. Not all the nets were perfect all the time, but the NAI says the minor violations, like broken opt-out links in privacy policies, were found to be unintentional, to only affected a limited number of consumers and were “resolved quickly.”

NAI currently has 96 members (four joined too late to be included in the current report) including the top 10 and 16 of the top twenty ad networks, a significant portion of the online ad market.

NAI staff is currently working with members to implement the new mobile application privacy code, scheduled to go into effect later this year.

The industry regards self-regulation programs like the NAI an important tool in beating back regulation from the Hill. If an NAI ad network doesn’t comply, the NAI can refer the ad network to the Federal Trade Commission for enforcement.