On October 28, the Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), released five decisions in which the website operators  have agreed to update their respective websites to provide enhanced notice as required under the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA Principles).  The Accountability Program enforces the OBA Principles on behalf of the Digital Advertising Alliance and these decisions stem from a compliance warning issued by the Accountability Program in October 2013.

The 2013 compliance warning explained the responsibility of website operators to (i) provide enhanced notice on every page where they permit third parties to collect information for interest-based advertising or when they themselves transfer such data to unrelated third parties, (ii) link that real-time notice to their explanation of their third party interest-based advertising practices (which disclosure must either link to an industry-developed consumer choice page or list every third party conducting OBA activity on the website) and (iii) signal their adherence to the OBA Principles. The recent decisions confirmed the responsibilities set forth in the compliance warning and further illustrated how compliant implementation of enhanced notice can be achieved. The decisions noted that enhanced notice links must appear on every page where a third party is collecting information for interest-based advertising, be separate from the link to the website’s privacy policy and should go directly to the place in the privacy policy where the disclosure is located (not just generally to the privacy policy) or to another location on the website where that explanation is provided.

These decisions serve as a reminder to website publishers that they cannot pass all responsibility for compliance with the OBA Principles on to advertisers and that they should periodically review their privacy disclosures for compliance with applicable industry guidelines.  As noted by Accountability Program Director Genie Barton, these cases are “only the beginning of [their] enforcement of website notice and choice.”