Government Report: March 11, 2011

AAF Government Report

March 11, 2011

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

Daniella Martinez, Federation Intern

Privacy in Focus on Many Fronts

The American Advertising Federation has joined in two sets of comments to the Federal Trade Commission in response to the Preliminary FTC Staff Report on Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers.

The first set of comments is from the leading trade associations from the advertising, marketing, media, financial services, retail, and Internet industries and broadly addresses the many issues in the report, including online behavioral advertising, data collection and retention, consumer choice, commonly accepted practices, and do-not-track proposals. The second set of comments is from the advertising and marketing associations and the industry’s robust new self-regulatory program for online behavioral advertising.

Representative Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., has announced his intention to privacy legislation. While the measure has not yet been made public, it would reportedly empower the Federal Trade Commission to encourage self regulation.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has scheduled a March 16 hearing on “the state of online consumer privacy.” This is an issue of great interest to Chairman Rockefeller, who has said that he believes Congress may need to act to protect consumer privacy.

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Subcommittee Votes to Overturn Net Rules

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Communications and Technology voted to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s rules on network neutrality. The rules are designed to prevent Internet providers from blocking websites that use a lot of bandwidth. Opponents believe that the rules are unnecessary and that the Commission overstepped its authority when it adopted the rules. The measure must now go to the full Committee and then the House. A similar proposal has been introduced in the Senate, but it is questionable whether it will pass in the Democratic controlled chamber. If it does pass, it is likely to be vetoed by President Obama who supported net neutrality rules during his presidential campaign.

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San Francisco Supervisor Targets Yellow Pages

The president of the San Francisco board of supervisors, David Chiu, has introduced an ordinance that would effectively ban the distribution of print Yellow Pages in the city. Supervisor Chiu has made it clear that print Yellow Pages are the first in the line of unsolicited advertising, which could also include freely circulated newspapers and other advertising distributed in the city.

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