Reviewing recent history, every year since the launch of the iPhone and subsequent OS was supposed to be the the year of mobile - device adoption, breakthroughs in monetization, the majority screen, the only screen. And in some respects this came to fruition. A majority of U.S. adults own smartphone devices.
This momentous migration to smartphones and tablets brought with it a whole host of questions about consumer expectations and privacy. Your location became more precise. Your photo album or address book was accessible by unrelated apps. Cookies were placed on the backburner behind device and statistical identifiers. But for many regulators and privacy experts, the year of mobile meant becoming mired in the technology itself, or focused only on the new parties at the table such as app developers. And, there are no shortage of mobile privacy guidelines, codes of conduct, and best practices documents in the marketplace today reflecting this knee-jerk reaction to the technological changes and new market entrants.
The reality is, my colleague Joe Laszlo got it right back in June in his ClickZ column "(Re)Defining Mobile": mobile is a behavior, not a technology. Industry innovation runs concurrent with consumer behavior. This means safeguarding consumer privacy must be about meeting the consumer's expectations, wherever she is, no matter the device.
Last week, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) released guidance on the "Application of Self-Regulatory Principles to the Mobile Environment." Building on the success of the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising and the collection of multi-site data, the DAA, with the help and resources of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, captured the unique complexities of the mobile marketplace in seamless, technology-neutral principles that extend far beyond any mobile privacy guidance in-market today.
The result? Transparency and consumer control over data collection practices, regardless of the device, technology, or the party doing the collection.
In what became a nearly two-year long process to better understand the complex mobile marketplace and to create seamless rules of the road that translated across all channels, the DAA accomplished an unprecedented new standard in consumer control. But, we are not done. Just as the industry innovates at a pace rivaling Moore's Law, so, too, must our standards in safeguarding consumer privacy.
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Sarah Hudgins is the Director of Public Policy for IAB in its Washington, D.C. office. Sarah is responsible for government relations with the United States Congress and Executive Branch of the Federal Government. As the industry's liaison to third-party organizations and regulatory bodies, she helps advance advertising policy issues, including telecommunications and mobile platforms, privacy, and the First Amendment. Prior to IAB, Sarah was the Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs for the Entertainment Software Association, covering various policy issues for the video game publishing industry. Her previous experience also includes government affairs and regulatory policy support for the magazine publishing industry, and federal election campaign advance work. She is a founding board member of the Global Women's Innovation Network, and member of the Federal Communications Bar Association and American Intellectual Property Law Association. Sarah holds a J.D. from the Catholic University of America and a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies from the University of Iowa.
March 19, 2014