Trade group previews apps to give mobile users choice on ads

The Digital Advertising Alliance, a consortium of advertising trade groups, will roll out two new apps later this year aimed at giving mobile device users a choice of what ads they see.

Later this year, the DAA will release a mobile app, available on Android and iOS devices, that will allow mobile device users to set their preferences for what behavioral ads they want to see, the group announced Thursday. The app will also allow mobile users to opt out of receiving ads based on their interests, with generic ads delivered instead, a DAA spokeswoman said.

The second app DAA plans to release this fall will be a mobile version of the group’s desktop advertising choices tool, designed to be easier to use on smaller screens and work with mobile browsers, the DAA said. Through an icon on banner ads and websites, the desktop app also allows Web users to set their ad preferences.

Privacy groups and some U.S. policymakers have pressured online advertising networks in recent years to allow Web and mobile users to opt out of online tracking efforts, and the new apps are an effort by the online advertising industry to self regulate tracking designed to deliver relevant ads to mobile users, DAA executive director Lou Mastria said.

The new apps “reflect DAA’s continued fulfillment of the promise that it has made to policymakers, industry and most importantly, consumers to bring transparency and control wherever and however they use the Internet,” he said in a statement.

Seven advertising and data collection companies have indicated they intend to honor the user requests through the apps, the DAA spokeswoman said. The group expects more companies will sign up before the apps launch.

The DAA apps will complement existing ad choice tools offered by mobile operating systems, giving users another options for managing their privacy, the DAA said.

Some privacy groups have criticized self-regulatory efforts in the past, with some calling for government regulation requiring websites and advertising networks get opt-in permission from individuals when collecting personal data and tracking online habits.

Companies participating in the DAA’s desktop ad choices program include AOL, AT&T, Disney, Google, Microsoft, Target and Verizon.

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