ANA Pans Obama's Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

Group Says Breach Laws Are More Needed, Plenty of Privacy Protections Already in Place

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The nation's largest advertisers have joined other critics of President Barack Obama's plan to restrict how companies can handle the private information of Americans.

"This may drag down a good effort to establish a good data-breach law," said Dan Jaffe, the top lobbyist for the Association of National Advertisers.

Besides shifting congressional efforts away from data-breach legislation, the group says, the president's proposal would not address all of the challenges advertisers face in complying with dozens of differing -- and often changing -- state privacy laws. Advertisers also prefer that data privacy policy laws remain true self-regulation, without federal oversight.

"This is a bill whose time has not come," Mr. Jaffe said.

Both industry groups and privacy advocates have denounced the president's draft legislation.

It would require industries to develop their own codes of conduct on the handling of consumer information, yet would authorize the Federal Trade Commission to ensure those codes satisfy certain requirements. Those include giving consumers access to personal information that has been collected and inform consumers about how their personal information would be used and shared.

Companies that violate the FTC's requirements would face fines of up to $25 million.

"Even though responsible companies provide us with tools to control privacy settings and decide how our personal information is used, too many Americans still feel they have lost control over their data," the White House said in a statement.

Consumer groups dislike the proposal for another reason, saying the bill would overturn state laws that offer stronger protections and would not give the FTC the authority to impose tough regulations on information gatherers or limit the type of information that could be collected.

Meanwhile, industry groups, including the ANA, say a new law is not needed.

"Right now we believe there is quite a bit of privacy regulation in place," Mr. Jaffe said.