European DAA And Privacy Ad Icon Coming Soon

The official extension of the ad industry’s self-regulatory behavioral ad icon to Europe is en route. The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), the online ad industry coalition behind the icon, is working closely with a consortium of pan European self regulatory advertising industry groups. In a matter of weeks, the group in Europe is expected to license the DAA’s AdChoices icon, which notifies users when an ad is targeted based on behavioral and other data.

The European body includes the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe, IAB U.K., European Advertising Standards Alliance and World Federation of Advertisers, along with Microsoft and behavioral targeting firm, according to Peter Kosmala, SVP of government affairs at the 4A’s, who is working with the European groups on behalf of the DAA. The body will officially become the European DAA soon, he said.

“There will be a formal incorporation of the [Europe DAA] in Brussels,” said Kosmala, who recently left his director role at the DAA to join the 4A’s. Though he no longer holds a title with DAA, he is handling the organization’s international relationships as part of his new position with the 4A’s, a founding member of the DAA.

In the interest of standardization, the Europe DAA (EDAA) will license the icon that is used in ads served in the U.S. However, Kosmala stressed he doesn’t expect that the European body will replicate the U.S. DAA’s privacy framework or the functionality of the backend system used here.

“We’re simply giving them trademark permission to use our icon,” said Kosmala.

Companies including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and others have already implemented the icon in ads on their own in Europe, according to Mike Zaneis, the IAB’s SVP and general counsel.

Canada is expected to be the next in line for official use of the icon. The U.S. neighbor is “following on the heels of Europe…but moving very briskly,” said Kosmala, noting that he’s been working with a broad industry consortium there which includes IAB Canada, Advertising Standards Canada and Quebec-based ad groups.

The idea is to “create a strong global program,” said Zaneis, noting that discussions have taken place regarding implementation of the icon program in Australia and South America.

There remains criticism in Europe regarding the approach of the would-be EDAA. Last month, Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, an assembly of data privacy representatives from EU member states, sent a letter to IAB Europe, the ESAA, and the broader online behavioral ad industry suggesting their “Code of Conduct does not meet the consent and information requirements of the revised ePrivacy Directive.”

The icon and related operations will take some time to be implemented, said Kosmala. “You’ll see the DAA icon in Europe in the next few months,” he said.

Next week, the DAA and other industry representatives will join privacy advocates and engineers in Washington, D.C. for a three-day W3C meeting to discuss plans for development of a browser-based privacy preferences header. It’s often referred to as a do-not-track tool, despite the fact that it most likely will not block all forms of online data tracking. W3C, or World Wide Web Consortium, is an international body that develops web standards.

“This is not something that replaces the AdChoices icon; it’s operating at a different level,” said Kosmala of the browser-based header in development.

An online ad campaign to educate consumers about the icon has “just started to run,” Kosmala said. Media firms and ad networks have offered 2 billion ad impressions for the effort, set for spring and summer, and beyond, he said.

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