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NAI Working with Members to Develop New Industry Guidelines for Sensitive Location Data

WASHINGTON, DC (January 24, 2024) – The Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) today released the following statement from NAI President and CEO Leigh Freund.

“Data providers are continuing to grapple with the balance between the value of location data for advertising, transportation, and public health and the risks that data associated with sensitive locations like healthcare facilities will be misused. The settlement agreements recently announced by the FTC show that the nation’s leading privacy regulator is also paying close attention to this issue. 

Like the FTC, the NAI believes consumers should be able to rely on strong protections against the misuse of their precise location data, particularly from sensitive locations. We have long been industry leaders in driving best practices around the uses of location data for advertising, most recently releasing our Voluntary Enhanced Standards for Precise Location Information Solution Providers in June 2022. Those standards, designed to protect against misuse of data from sensitive locations, were released ahead of any legal requirements or FTC actions related to sensitive locations, and raised the bar for the industry. Further, the latest FTC settlements are consistent with the NAI’s voluntary standards, and our priorities for promoting important protections for consumers’ sensitive location data going forward.

We launched our Voluntary Enhanced Standards to raise the bar for industry practices at a time when we felt that existing legal requirements surrounding treatment of this data were lacking. Since that time, multiple state laws have created new legal requirements, and the FTC has now provided more insights into practices they believe to be inconsistent with the FTC Act, as well as identifying practices that companies can take to better safeguard this data. The NAI is responding to this increased activity – and convergence – between state law, FTC enforcement priorities, and the NAI’s voluntary enhanced standards, by developing new steps that can be adopted more broadly by companies who collect and process sensitive consumer location data.

We are working with our members that use location data through our Legal, Regulatory, and Data Governance Working Group – including InMarket, OutLogic, and the companies that have previously implemented the NAI’s Voluntary Enhanced Standards – to develop new industry guidelines. Our goal is to promote a consistent, higher set of standards across the industry that honor consumers’ privacy rights while enabling location data’s beneficial uses. We are committed to preserving the valuable applications of precise location information by working with federal and state regulators to promote a consistent set of industry practices to create a race to the top among all companies who collect and process this data.”

Kate Cox-Nowak

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