Ad Industry to FCC: We Don't Need You on Privacy Beat

ANA Says We Don't Need Brawnier Cop

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Dan Jaffe.
Dan Jaffe. Credit: ANA

It's official: Ad industry lobby Association of National Advertisers wants the Federal Communications Commission out of the privacy game.

"We simply don't need a 'brawnier' or 'additional' cop on the beat," said Dan Jaffe, group executive VP-government relations at the ANA, at the group's Advertising Law and Public Policy conference in Chicago today. "The addition of the FCC to the regulatory landscape would inject confusion and uncertainty into privacy regulation."

FCC commissioners advanced a privacy proposal restricting data collection and use by ISPs on a 3-2 vote on March 31.

"ANA is considering filing comments in response to this latest FCC action and we encourage all members to provide input on how this matter will impact their business," added Mr. Jaffe in his speech today.

If passed, the proposed rules could limit certain types of data sharing and use of data derived from ISPs by advertisers and their ad tech partners. A key point of contention is a call for ISPs to obtain opt-in permission from consumers for non-billing and non-marketing-related data sharing and use.

The FCC's new jurisdiction over ISP privacy opened as a result of the agency's adoption of net-neutrality rules for broadband last year.

Mr. Jaffe implied that the ANA and other industry groups could try to discredit the FCC's newfound privacy authority. "Legal analysts differ as to whether the FCC has the statutory authority to adopt privacy protection policies," he stated, according to a transcript of his speech provided to Ad Age.

"Even if the FCC were to adopt rules similar to the [Federal Trade Commission]'s unfair and deceptive policies, years of litigation and interpretation would ensue as the scope and applicability of the FCC's new muscle-flexing plays out," added Mr. Jaffe. "Especially in the swiftly moving internet environment, it's not practical or necessary to have a new privacy enforcement agency. The FTC is doing its job and should be allowed to continue to do it."

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