Formal Review 102.2019 - PlantSnap, Inc.

Arlington, VA – October 8, 2019 – The BBB National Programs’ Digital Advertising Accountability Program referred the mobile app developer PlantSnap, Inc. to the Federal Trade Commission today. The referral was initiated after PlantSnap failed to participate in a self-regulatory review process looking into data privacy practices related to geolocation data and advertising.

The referral follows an inquiry by the Accountability Program into PlantSnap’s compliance with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Principles, which are industry best practices for privacy in online advertising. The Accountability Program inquired into PlantSnap’s practices during routine technical monitoring of mobile apps for compliance with the DAA Principles involving the possible collection and use of data for interest-based advertising, including precise geolocation data. Interest-based advertising, also known as targeted advertising, uses this web- and app-derived data to infer people’s likely interests and serve ads to them on the basis of those interests. 

“We are disappointed that PlantSnap did not respond to our repeated inquiries,” said Jon Brescia, vice president of the Accountability Program. “Our track record with companies has been overwhelmingly positive, with roughly 98% participation. Self-regulation relies on that kind of commitment—not just from the ad tech industry, but also from the publishers who interface directly with the end users.” 

Today’s referral brings to 107 the number of public actions taken by the Accountability Program and the third referral of its existence.