WOMMA Releases Privacy Guidance — Encourages Transparency

On Jan. 19, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) released the WOMMA Guidance on Privacy, a set of self-regulated privacy guidelines that focus on social media and the use of consumer Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Referring to recent FTC settlements against Google and Facebook, WOMMA applauded recent FTC efforts to raise the issue of privacy, and for making transparency a key point.

Along with some major brands and agencies, WOMMA and its board of directors agreed upon core principles for protecting privacy across all marketing and communications channels. WOMMA’s Guidance on Privacy are aspirational core principles to follow, and are not mandated or required guidelines for the industry.

WOMMA stated on their blog, that, while privacy is a multi-faceted issue, WOMMA believes that transparency and choice are at the heart of establishing and sustaining the meaningful connection between brands and consumers.

Excerpts from WOMMA’s Perspective on Privacy:

  • Brands should be open and honest about PII that they are collecting, using and sharing from consumers.
  • Brands should use PII collected from or about consumers for the purposes that they have clearly communicated.
  • Brands should collect PII that is relevant and necessary to accomplish the specified purposes.
  • Brands should not retain PII for longer than necessary to fulfill the specified purposes or to otherwise meet legal requirements.
  • Brands should employ relevant and reasonable measures to protect PII.
  • Brands should be accountable for complying with these principles, by providing consumers with a readily accessible means to express concerns or complaints.

“In the relationship between the advertiser and customer, sensitive information can be transmitted, whether financial or personal,” said Anthony DiResta, Partner at Winston & Strawn and WOMMA General Counsel. “It is the sensitivity of that information that creates concerns about privacy, and WOMMA believes that transparency and choice are at the heart of establishing and sustaining the meaningful connection between companies and their customers.”

“Privacy is becoming an increasingly important topic for both brands and consumers,” said Paul M. Rand, President/CEO of Zocalo Group and WOMMA Immediate Past President. “The principles set forth in WOMMA’s Guidance are meant to educate our members and the industry as a whole on key privacy issues, and we look forward to continuing the discussion.”

In disclosure, I serve on the WOMMA Member Ethics Advisory Panel.

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