About Ad Tracking

Advertising dollars — not consumers — pay for the majority of the content on the internet. For the benefit of consumers and businesses alike, advertisers have sought to add value to ads by collecting data about internet users: their preferences, their general location, and their age. The pervasiveness of ad tracking has been met with concern on the part of many consumer groups, but the fact remains that most web users are unwilling to pay for the media and services they expect. The Future of Privacy Forum enhances conversation about what advertisers track and how targeted ads affect users’ experience, and seeks to engage stakeholders in striking the balance between innovative, ad-supported services and legitimate privacy concerns.

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The Location & Advertising Technology Working Group is an effort to assist companies and their privacy teams to navigate the complicated privacy and technology issues that exist in the interplay between location tracking and new technologies to follow users across devices, engage with them across different apps, and personalize and tailor marketing experiences.

A Working Group of Industry Privacy Professionals

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) helps companies and their vendors grapple with new advertising and location-based technologies. As a leading advocate for practical approaches to consumer privacy challenges, FPF is at the forefront of conversations about the commercial benefits of advertising technologies and the need to address related privacy issues in order to ensure continued consumer trust. FPF’s goal is to explore new and evolving advertising technologies and provide guidance on potential privacy issues that may emerge.

Highlights include:

A self-regulatory code of conduct and an online opt-out for Mobile Location Analytics (MLA) technology, which helps participating companies understand consumer traffic patterns in stores. This code is supported by an opt-out website where consumers can opt out of MLA tracking. An opt-out website where consumers can enter their MAC address to opt-out of MLA tracking by all companies that have committed to the Code

A public general-purpose guide to Bluetooth beacon technologies in collaboration with the Local Search Association, which explains how beacons work, how they interact with apps, and what sort of controls users have.

The development of industry best practices for beacon deployment and use, offering guidance on needed disclosures, ongoing and advanced notice, and location notifications.

FPF has addressed both the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission about the technical processes behind cross-device tracking, and is preparing public filings and presentations on cross-device measurement.

The creation of a detailed “due diligence” document for companies to use and consult when evaluating their own advertising practices.

FPF continues to work with policymakers, advocates, media and other business stakeholders to continue to support leading privacy practices for the use of location data. Visit smart-places.org for more information about FPF’s MLA work.

What's Happening: Ad Tracking

Use of Limit Ad Tracking Rises, in the US
iOS 10 to Feature Stronger “Limit Ad Tracking” Control
Study: Mobile ad block use up, but fewer users turning limit ad tracking on