FTC Privacy Chief Jumps to the NAI

The Network Advertising Initiative, the original self-regulatory body for behavioral ads, has named a new executive director from within the ranks of the Federal Trade Commission.

Marc Groman, who starts with the NAI next month, is currently chief privacy officer at the FTC, which is pressuring marketers and media sellers to improve their self-governance and to grant consumers more transparency and control over how their data is used to serve ads. His hire at this moment appears strategically important, since the FTC is nearing completion of a major privacy framework governing the use of data in online display advertising. That framework, years in the making, may or may not endorse a Do-Not-Track mechanism for online behavioral advertising.

Groman will bring to the NAI considerable knowledge of the framework’s details, as well as the FTC’s plans for enforcement. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in October that the framework will be released in the next several months.

Groman replaces Charles Curran, who has led the NAI through a period of expanded membership but reduced influence on the national privacy debate. During Curran’s term, the NAI’s dominant role in crafting behavioral ad guidelines has been subsumed into a new, many-tentacled coalition – the Digital Advertising Alliance. Aside from the NAI, the DAA’s other appendages include the Direct Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Better Business Bureau, and others.

“During the NAI’s rapid expansion to more than 75 member companies, Chuck’s leadership enabled us to make significant progress in implementing credible compliance and best practices for companies engaged in interest-based advertising,” said NAI Chairman Rob Gratchner in a statement.

The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection also gave a quote. “Marc really understands the privacy issues facing consumers and businesses today,” said its deputy director, Jessica Rich. “The NAI is really lucky to get him at this critical time for privacy.”

The NAI’s membership includes ValueClick, AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and others.

 

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