Marketing sector coalition pushes for new data privacy law

A new coalition group called Privacy for America, has been set up by companies in the marketing and advertising sector, to call for strong, nationwide data protections for all American citizens across the U.S.

The group is lobbying Congress to ensure federal online privacy legislation is not as strict as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which is due to come into effect in January 2020.

The group aims to influence Congress regarding new federal laws to enforce data privacy.

Privacy for America’s members include:

  • American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s)

  • Association of National Advertisers (ANA)

  • Digital Advertising Alliance

  • Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

  • Network Advertising Initiative (NAI)

The group is seeking to create a new criterion for data privacy and responsible data use. It wants a national law that favors the interests of the consumer and makes peoples’ personal information less vulnerable to breach and misuse, as well as clearly defined prohibited data practices.

On its Twitter page, the group tweeted; We believe all Americans’ data should be protected when enjoying benefits like loyalty programs and savings, the convenience of a personalized experience, or ready access to freely accessible content.

It added that during the coming months, it will be calling “on American consumers, companies and all sectors of the economy to join us in support of a new law that protects consumer data privacy.”

Among the privacy protections the coalition wants to see in future legislation, are:

  • Prohibition of specific harmful data practices such as using personal data to discriminate (for example, to turn someone down for a job) or sharing consumer data with third parties without enforceable contracts to ensure lawful use of the data;

  • Establishment of a new Data Protection Bureau within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), giving the FTC more authority on privacy issues, including strict penalties for companies engaging in prohibited privacy practices;

  • Restrictions imposed on data use for advertising purposes; and

  • A requirement for strong security protections to safeguard against data breaches.

ANA’s chief executive, Bob Liodice, said:

All Americans deserve clear, strong and effective data privacy protections. These protections will help provide assurance to consumers their data will not be used in unexpected and harmful ways, … Americans must not be forced to choose between protecting their privacy and enjoying the many benefits they have all come to expect from the advertising-supported Internet, mobile and other media. And they deserve to expect and have the same tough privacy protections no matter where they live in the U.S.”

David Almy, CEO of the Insights Association commented:

“Research reveals strong public support for a federal data privacy law that protects consumers,” …
All businesses benefiting from marketing research and data analytics depend upon the respect and cooperation of individuals. Privacy for America will work with a broad range of stakeholders to build consensus for enactment of this helpful framework into law.”

Privacy for America is being guided by experienced advisors in data privacy, cybersecurity and consumer protection, including Stuart Ingis, co-chair of Venable LLP’s privacy, and cybersecurity group, and also Jessica Rich, former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. The group is expecting to meet with members of Congress, the Department of Commerce and the FTC during the new few months.

According to the Privacy for America website, a recent poll commissioned by the coalition revealed that  63 percent of registered voters believed that allowing the federal government to pass a national data privacy law would be the most effective approach to protect consumer data. This compares to only 17 percent of registered voters who believed letting individual states pass their own data privacy laws would be most effective.

In addition, 92 percent of voters considered it was “important” for Congress to pass new legislation in order to protect consumer data, with 65 percent of voters saying new legislation is “very important”.

In the coming weeks and months, Privacy for America members will be meeting with leaders in Congress, the FTC, the Department of Commerce, the White House, companies across sectors of the U.S. economy, and other stakeholders.

Justin Brookman, a a veteran of the FTC and a privacy advocate with Consumer Reports, expressed his support for efforts to strengthen the agency. However, he was otherwise unimpressed with the proposal.

“They’re picking some already-on-the-ground fruit,” he said. “It looks like the existing self-regulatory rules that they’ve had in place for years that didn’t work that well.”

Sources: Reuters, Privacy for America, ResearchLive,

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