Advertising Industry Appoints New Head of Online Privacy

Former National Advertising Initiative Exec Takes Charge of SElf-Regulation Program at Critical Time

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There's a new person in charge of the ad industry's online privacy program. The Digital Advertising Alliance, a consortium of ad trade groups, appointed Peter Kosmala to oversee its self-regulatory program About Ads, which allows people to opt-out of behavioral advertising.

Online privacy has become a front-and-center issue in Washington. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) recently unveiled a comprehensive online privacy bill designed to meet the concerns of the Obama administration as well as the Federal Trade Commission. But the issue has become a contentious battleground between legislators, the ad industry and consumer groups. The appointment of Mr. Kosmala underscores the fact that this has become a full-time debate, which will have significant consequences on the future of online advertising as well as internet companies in general.

"The appointment of Peter Kosmala is an important step for The Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavior Advertising," said Stu Ingis, partner at law firm Venable and one of the principal advisors to the ad industry on privacy.

Up until now, the DAA had operated as a loose confederation between the various ad-trade groups, with little operational manpower. It is unclear if the DAA will now have a large enough budget to create a staff for Mr. Kosmala. The former manager of the Network Advertising Initiative was most recently a vice president at the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Mr. Kosmala, who will be based in Washington, D.C., said in a statement that "the DAA is the culmination of everything that I've done professionally from advertising to privacy and association management." The DAA is comprised of the 4As, the Association of National Advertisers, the American Advertising Federation, the Direct Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Network Advertising Initiative .

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