Ad Groups Aim to Pass Federal Privacy Legislation

Advertising Law

The advertising industry has teamed up to form a new organization dedicated to enacting federal privacy legislation.

Privacy for America—with a steering committee comprising representatives from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) and Network Advertising Initiative (NAI)—will push for “comprehensive, clear and enforceable privacy rules for the entire nation,” the organization explained.

Specifically, Privacy for America will advocate to impose restrictions on data use for advertising, including banning certain types of data from being collected and used for advertising, limiting the purposes for which advertising data may be used, and allowing consumers to identify their preferences regarding what advertising they do or do not wish to receive, the group said.

“This framework would create new national protections for consumers backed by enforcement and strict penalties for those who do not comply,” according to the organization’s website. “The legislation would shift the burden from consumers by allowing them to depend on these strong national standards without having to rely on reading hundreds of lengthy privacy policies in order to protect themselves.”

Privacy for America will also work to prohibit the use of data to discriminate against individuals based on factors such as race or religion, as well as the use of data to reject applicants for jobs, housing, credit or insurance. In addition, the group threw its support behind the creation of a new “data protection” bureau at the Federal Trade Commission, as well as giving the agency power to draft privacy regulations.

Spurred in part by the rising number of states seeking to enact their own consumer privacy laws (such as the California Consumer Privacy Act), the organization would prefer to see a uniform national law rather than a patchwork of varying state measures across the country.

“The new law would impose, for the very first time, robust security requirements, including the adoption of required security mechanisms, on virtually every company in this nation,” according to Privacy for America. “Our goal is to make universal the adoption of automatic mechanisms that will have the impact that seat belts and air bags had on auto safety.”

To visit the group’s website, click here.

Why it matters: Federal privacy legislation continues to make headlines, but little headway has been made by lawmakers. In the meantime, states are following the lead of California, a trend Privacy for America would like to end with the federal pre-emption of state laws. “We’ve been making the rounds on Capitol Hill and we’ve been met very favorably,” Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the IAB and a member of the Privacy for America steering committee, told Reuters.