America’s Digital Advertising Accountability (DAA) Programme has released the results of two reviews of popular mobile apps that allowed ad tech companies to collect device and behavioural data from their users without first meeting industry privacy standards.
Both companies, WiFi Map LLC and Ipnos Software Inc., eagerly adopted the Accountability Programme’s recommendations and came into compliance with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Principles.
The BBB National Programmes’ Accountability Programme examines popular mobile apps for compliance with the DAA Principles, which chiefly focus on providing extra insight into and options about targeted online ads.
In the course of its monitoring efforts, the consumer privacy programme developed concerns with WiFi Map and Ipnos’s Relax Melodies.
“These app publishers obviously care a lot about their apps, and they want to do the right thing for their users. But in both cases, we noticed that some privacy issues had made it out of development and into production,” said Jon Brescia, VP of the Accountability Programme.
“Once we got in touch, both Ipnos and WiFi Map really demonstrated that they were highly responsible and user-focused, and they implemented all of our recommendations in record time,” he added.
Ipnos is a Canadian wellness app developer whose products focus on healthful activities like meditation, relaxation, and improving sleep. While examining Ipnos’s app, Relax Melodies, the Accountability Programme found ad tech companies collecting unique IDs to facilitate ad targeting.
But the app lacked up-front, or “enhanced,” notice of this fact, and its privacy disclosures didn’t explain how consumers could opt out of targeted ads. Consequently, the Accountability Programme reached out to Ipnos with questions about its observations.
Ipnos’s case demonstrates the global interoperability of the DAA Principles, expressed in this instance by a Canadian company—subject to Canadian privacy laws—adopting the best practices embodied in this code. This is further proof that GDPR-style concepts of transparency and choice can be applied across national barriers, adapting to the new regulatory contours presented by each jurisdiction.
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