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The NAI Code of Conduct

The NAI Code of Conduct

The NAI Code of Conduct is a set of self-regulatory principles that require NAI member companies to provide notice and choice with respect to Interest-Based Advertising (IBA), Cross-App Advertising (CAA), and Retargeting (collectively, Tailored Advertising) as well as Ad Delivery and Reporting (ADR) activities. The Code, initially published in 2000 to cover web-based data collection and use, was significantly revised in 2008, 2013, and 2015, and before a major revision for 2020. The Mobile Application Code, addressing data collection and use in the mobile application space, was first published in 2013, and was updated in 2015 before being integrated into the 2018 Code.

The 2020 Code is a major update to the 2018 Code, which merged the 2015 update to the NAI Code of Conduct 2015 Update to the Mobile Application Code and includes references to all NAI Guidance documents current at the time of publication, including Cross Device Guidance. The 2020 Code expands its scope to cover the use of user-level offline data for certain targeted advertising uses, it expands Opt-In Consent requirements for new uses of data such as Precise Location Information, it incorporates the Guidance for NAI Members: Viewed Content Advertising, and it introduces several new definitions and terminology updates. NAI staff began enforcing the 2020 Code on January 1, 2020.

The Code addresses the types of data that member companies can use for advertising purposes and imposes a host of substantive restrictions on member companies' collection, use, and transfer of data used for Tailored Advertising.

In the web space, these activities were traditionally conducted using HTTP cookies. However, as new technologies emerge additional guidance was needed to help clarify how the requirements of the Code apply to these new technologies. In May 2015, the NAI released its Guidance for NAI Members: Use of Non-Cookie Technologies for Interest-Based Advertising Consistent with the NAI principles and Code of Conduct (Beyond Cookies Guidance). Please see our Non-Cookie Technologies FAQ for more information.

The NAI Code mandates that member companies provide users a means to opt out of Tailored Advertising. For web-based Tailored Advertising, the NAI provides an opt-out tool -- a simple web-based utility that allows users to opt out of receiving targeted ads from member companies. Integration with this tool requires member companies to provide consumers a means to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising via HTTP cookies. The NAI also requires its members to provide users with a means to opt out of Tailored Advertising in the mobile application space, and offers information about the choices available to users on mobile devices.

To help ensure that members abide by the NAI Code, the NAI has a robust compliance program, including sanctions mechanisms. Find out more about our enforcement program here. Or, you can also file a complaint about a member.

Click here for answers to the following questions about the NAI Code.

  1. How does the NAI Code of Conduct work?
  2. What version of the NAI Code will be in effect in 2020?
  3. Does the Code cover business practices on mobile devices?
  4. What is the purpose of the commentary to the Code?
  5. How detailed should my privacy policy be in describing my data collection and use practices?
  6. There are already new developments that are not covered in the NAI Code. Doesn’t this create a major gap in your program?
  7. When was the NAI Code last revised?
  8. Who can enforce the NAI Code?