Government Report: February 4, 2011

AAF Government Report

February 4, 2011

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

Daniella Martinez, Federation Intern

AAF Comments to DOC

The American Advertising Federation and a number of allied groups have filed comments with the U.S. Department of Commerce in response to the privacy report released by the DOC in late 2010. The comments are generally supportive of the report which explicitly acknowledges the importance of the Internet to the economy and businesses. While stressing the importance of privacy protections it also recognizes the need to “proceed in a way that fully recognizes the digital economy’s complexity and dynamism.” The industry comments are especially supportive of the Department’s call for voluntary industry codes of conduct. As has been reported previously, AAF and many allied associations jointly announced a self-regulatory program for online behavioral advertising in 2010.

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Privacy Legislation Expected

Representative Bobby Rush, D-Ill., is expected to reintroduce his privacy legislation in the near future. Previous versions of his legislation would have allowed websites to use online information collected from users, provided that the consumers were given clear notice about the collection and use of the information and given the opportunity to opt-out. It would also have allowed companies to obtain a safe harbor if they complied with a self-regulatory program approved by the Federal Trade Commission. Rep. Rush is reportedly considering including some sort of do-not-track provision in the new legislation.

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Kentucky Disclosure Bill Tables

Kentucky state representative Melvin Henley, D-Murray, introduced legislation requiring any advertisement for the sale of goods or services that are subject to any restriction include all of the restrictions in the advertisement. The bill specifically states that disclaimers such as “some restrictions apply” would not be sufficient. Local advertising professionals contacted the lawmaker to explain the impossibility of including all such information in the limited space of an advertisement. Rep. Hensley has reportedly said he will table the measure at least until the 2012 legislation session.

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