New Director of Self-Regulatory Group Plans for Global Rollout

peter-kosmala-daaWith Congress breathing down its proverbial neck, the online ad industry has stepped up leadership of its fledgling self-regulatory organization, The Digital Advertising Alliance. The group has named Peter Kosmala, formerly of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, as its first managing director.

Kosmala has big plans for the DAA. “This will become a fully staffed consortium,” he told ClickZ News. “A global, very broadly distributed program.”

The former VP of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, Kosmala developed a program for certifying privacy and data protection professionals, the Certified Information Privacy Professional program.

He believes his professional privacy background will serve the DAA well when it comes to establishing the organization as a credible, effective self-regulatory outfit in the eyes of U.S. legislators and the Federal Trade Commission. His experience, he said, “is enormously valuable and speaks volumes to regulators.” Kosmala said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz was made aware of his appointment before today’s announcement.

Kosmala co-managed the Network Advertising Initiative, the first behavioral ad industry privacy regime, before joining the IAPP. Though the NAI helped craft principles that led to the DAA initiative, the NAI was never a member of the DAA coalition, a group of several ad industry trade associations. However, when the DAA launched its behavioral ad choice program in 2010, all members of the NAI, including over 50 ad networks, publishers, and data firms, agreed to take part.

The DAA “is the NAI on steroids,” said Kosmala.

Until now, Stu Ingis, a partner with Venable LLP and general counsel for the DAA, has served in a de facto leadership role. Now that the DAA’s ad choices program has officially launched, Kosmala said the organization needs an operational leader. The alliance “needed a leader who can come in, understand the space, the historical context, and why the self regulatory approach is right,” he said.

The DAA currently has just two staffers – Kosmala and coordinator Michael London. The two are based in an office on L Street in Washington, D.C., in the same building as the Direct Marketing Association. That trade group has been especially aggressive when it comes to enforcing the DAA’s guidelines and requiring that its members include the DAA icon in their online ads targeted through behavioral data. The icon links to information about how the ad was delivered and allows people to click to opt-out from behavioral targeting.

Though he doesn’t plan to hire new staff soon, it’s on the agenda next year and beyond. “I have considerable resources I can tap into from the stakeholder organizations,” said Kosmala.

He stressed his mission to ensure that the DAA becomes a worldwide self-regulatory program, rather than something that applies in the U.S. only. After expanding its rollout in this country, Kosmala expects the DAA to implement the program through organizations like the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Europe arm, or IAB UK. Eventually, he hopes for rollout in Asia and elsewhere. The IAB Europe has already begun that process.

Recognizing increased scrutiny into mobile privacy by lawmakers, he also said the DAA has started working to apply its principles to mobile environments. “There’s a really smart committee that we’ve got together to hash out principles and approaches for applying [the principles] to mobile,” he said.

The Senate Privacy subcommittee held its first hearing ever this morning, which focused on mobile data security and privacy. Meanwhile, three privacy related bills have been officially introduced in the House, along with two in the Senate. Another children’s privacy bill draft has also been floated for discussion in the House.

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