Privacy Watchdog Brings Healthcare Company into Compliance with Ad Privacy Best Practices

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

McLean, VA – December 1, 2020 – BBB National Programs’ data privacy watchdog, the Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP), today released the result of a new data privacy case for the healthcare and medical devices company Abbott. Abbott worked with DAAP to bring more than 60 of its websites into compliance with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) Self-Regulatory Principles. 

DAAP monitors the digital marketplace and receives consumer complaints about online privacy, interest-based advertising (IBA), and compliance with the DAA Principles. In response to a consumer complaint about possible privacy issues on an Abbott website featuring cardiovascular products, DAAP conducted a full review of the company’s websites. Finding that there were signs of data collection on several of Abbott’s sites without the enhanced notice of background data collection required by the DAA Principles, DAAP contacted the company about its privacy practices.

Abbott quickly responded to DAAP’s inquiry and worked to reach compliance with the DAA Principles. The company: 

  • Added an enhanced notice link labeled “Advertising Preferences” to each of its websites that leads to a disclosure about targeted advertising and a consumer opt-out tool 
  • Audited its mobile apps and decommissioned an app where third-party data collection for IBA was taking place
  • Added a statement of adherence to the DAA Principles to its privacy policies


“Enhanced notice of third parties collecting data on a website for interest-based advertising is critically important in the medical context,” said Jon Brescia, Vice President, DAAP. “We thank Abbott for the great efforts it took to prioritize end-user privacy, especially during this unique time of heightened consumer interest in health-related information and products.”

DAAP has published 124 public actions since the program began its self-regulatory mission in 2011. Of those, 11 have been published in 2020. 

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About BBB National Programs:  BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the Digital Advertising Accountability Program: The Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP), a division of BBB National Programs, was developed by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) to enforce industry self-regulation principles for data privacy in online and mobile advertising, holding companies accountable to the DAA’s Privacy Principles. DAAP provides guidance to companies looking to comply with industry principles and responds to complaints filed by consumers about online privacy. 

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