AAF Government Report

May 13, 2011

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

Legislators Propose More Privacy Measures

Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol continue to propose new measures intended to protect consumers’ privacy online.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has introduced S. 913 the Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011. The bill would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to issue regulations pertaining to the collection and use of personal information obtained from the tracking of an individual’s online activity. Senator Rockefeller is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee which has jurisdiction over most Internet related issues.

On the House side, Representatives Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Joe Barton, R-Texas, have released a discussion draft of the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 which would amend the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to extend its provisions to the collection of data online from children ages 13-18.

While well-intentioned, in AAF’s view neither of the proposed measures are needed. In fact, both may be harmful to businesses and consumers by establishing unnecessary regulations that could hamper Internet commerce and the online experience. The Markey-Barton proposal is troubling in that it would extend its provisions beyond those set in COPPA to adolescents and teenagers up to the age of 18.

AAF believes that the protections being sought by the lawmakers are already being provided through self-regulation. AAF has joined with allied associations and businesses to form the Digital Advertising Alliance and has developed a robust program that lets consumers easily and conveniently opt-out of having their data collected and used for the delivery of online behavioral advertising. An Advertising Option Icon has been developed that has already appeared on billions of ads. Consumers can click on the Icon to opt-out, or they can go directly to www.AboutAds.info/choices to exercise their choices.

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FCC Commissioner Resigns

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker has unexpectedly resigned from her position at the Commission. She will be joining the Washington office of Comcast/NBC Universal.

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IWG to Hold Forum

The Interagency Working Group which recently released proposed voluntary nutrition standards for children’s advertising has announced a public forum on May 24 to receive comments on the guides. The IWG has also extended the period for written comment until July 14, 2011. AAF will submit written comments.

The IWG consists of the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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