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NAI Summit Recap

Now that our second annual Summit is down in the books, we’d like to thank our members for participating and provide a short recap of the proceedings. Like all NAI events, the Summit is both an important opportunity for members to interact with and learn from one another and share opinions, concerns and insights with the NAI team. During its first two years, it has also provided unique and invaluable opportunities to hear from key policy and lawmakers. 

This year’s summit kicked off with a welcome from our chairman, Doug Miller, Vice President and Global Privacy Leader, AOL and Alec Rosenberg, Partner, Arent Fox LLP, followed by a “fireside chat” with FTC Commissioner Julie Brill. During this conversation, Commissioner Brill discussed proposed privacy legislation and the FTC’s investigation into data brokers. She also expressed her concerns about alternative scoring and mobile privacy, noting that data collection on mobile devices is one of the FTC’s top consumer protection priorities. Finally, she emphasized the need for online advertising industry experts to get involved in the ongoing dialogue in Washington, DC to ensure that policy and regulations are informed by fact. 

“NAI has been an exceptional leader in the self-regulatory community,” FTC Commissioner Julie Brill. 

See photos from the event here.

Following Commissioner Brill’s remarks, Senator Byron L. Dorgan moderated a panel of senior Hill staff, which provided a legislative update for attendees on a number of current policy topics, including Chairman Rockefeller’s privacy bill, data security and the Energy & Commerce Committee’s ongoing privacy review. One key take away from this panel was that privacy legislation is not likely to move in Congress this year.  Hill staff also expressed concerns about the impact of legislation on innovation, small business and competition. This closed session generated much interest and compelled a discussion and debate carried on through the rest of the day.

Throughout, the full NAI team was on hand to share information about current and upcoming initiatives with our members. As we listened to members, we were also able to answer questions and get member input on several hot button issues – Do-Not-Track, cross-device targeting, the state of the cookie, the changing digital landscape and potential new methods for maintaining state across websites and apps. 

Chief executives from NAI member companies Eric Wheeler, CEO of 33 Across, Omar Tawakol, CEO of BlueKai, Mark Zagorski, CEO of eXelate and Joe Zawadzki, CEO of MediaMath, wrapped up the conference portion of the day with a panel about the day’s discussions and audience reactions. Among other topics of importance to our members, they spoke about third parties, the value of self-regulation, online privacy, competition, life beyond cookies and cross-device tracking. 

Despite challenges we have faced as an industry, all four panelists maintained a positive outlook on the success and potential of the ad tech space. Their optimism stems from the fact that constant innovation and VC investment in the space has improved our ability to provide better user experiences and drive industry growth. Further, the digital marketplace has not been significantly threatened by federal legislation, as initiatives like Do-Not-Track have yet to find proper footing in Congress, and self-regulation overall has been successful as policymakers at the Summit acknowledged themselves. 

After a full day of engagement, attendees were then invited to the rooftop garden of Arent Fox’s architecturally exquisite headquarters for a member networking cocktail party. The rooftop’s 360-degree view of the nation’s Capitol and White House provided a perfect backdrop for attendees to continue conversations from earlier in the day while connecting with panelists and peers. 

Overall, the day’s tone was positive and optimistic, and reflected what differentiates NAI from other industry organizations. Namely, the commitment our organization makes to advancing industry best practices and meaningful solutions to issues and lending its voice to both industry and legislative discussions. Events like the Summit are always extremely gratifying for the NAI team because we are able to see firsthand how knowledgeable and passionate our members are about privacy topics and how important the work we all do is to online advertising.

Thank you all for making this year’s Summit a success. We are already looking forward to next year.

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