May 8, 2017  

  • FCC Insures Consistent Privacy Protections
  • Tax Reform in Lawmaker’s Sights
  • AAF Day on the Hill a Success

FCC Action Insures Consistent Privacy Protections

On April 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a congressional resolution preventing the Federal Communications Commission from implementing broadband privacy rules approved under the previous administration.   

The rules, applicable only to Internet Service Providers, would have expanded the definition of “sensitive data” to include web browsing and application use data when linked to a device alone. Sensitive data requires a consumer’s opt-in to use or share.  This would have been a significant departure from accepted industry practice and customer expectation that the collection and use of web viewing and application use data for advertising purposes is subject to an opt-out choice. Because the rules also would have applied only to ISPs, they would have been held to a different standard than the rest of the Internet ecosystem. In essence, consumers would have been bombarded by requests for consent any time an ISP tried to deliver an interest based advertisement.

AAF and many of our industry allies opposed the Commission’s original adoption of the rules and filed petitions urging the FCC to reconsider the rules.  

While those petitions were pending, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced resolutions disapproving the rules. When the resolution was passed and signed by the President, the FCC’s rules were repealed and the agency was barred from issuing "substantially similar" rules in the future.

Consumers still enjoy substantial protections through the Federal Trade Commission’s longstanding and ongoing enforcement of tough privacy standards, particularly for personally identifiable sensitive information. Consumers also receive substantial protection through the industry’s self-regulatory program, the Digital Advertising Alliance.

Since the President and Congress’ action, many state legislators have introduced legislation to close the perceived gap in privacy protections. AAF has joined with many of our industry colleagues to explain to lawmakers that consumer privacy protection remains strong and that a patchwork of inconsistent state laws governing the Internet would be unworkable and ill serve both consumers and industry. To date, letters have been sent to state lawmakers in Alaska, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Tax Reform in Lawmaker’s Sights

Congressional leaders and President Trump have stated their goal of enacting major tax reform numerous times this year.  

The President recently released the broad outline of his tax plan, but with very few specifics. The plan would reduce both corporate and personal income tax rates. The top corporate rate would drop from 35% to 15%. While personal tax deductions would be limited to mortgage interest and charitable contributions, the outline offers no specifics on corporate deductions. The outline does not include the Border Adjustment Tax that is the centerpiece of the House Republicans Better Way Blueprint.

Advertising has not been targeted in either of these plans and AAF and the Advertising Coalition are working had to insure that the business tax deduction for advertising expenses remains off the table. Congressmen Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) have authored a letter defending the advertising deduction which has been cosigned by 124 members of Congress and sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and members of the Ways and Means tax writing committee. Many of those members were encouraged to sign by AAF members who attended the March 30, 2017 Advertising Day on the Hill event.

Some state lawmakers also considered advertising as a source of revenue. AAF is working with local members and the industry to monitor possible ad tax threats in Connecticut, Louisiana and West Virginia.

AAF Day on the Hill a Success

On March 30, 2017 nearly 80 AAF members from 26 states and the District of Columbia gathered together in Washington, DC for AAF’s Advocacy & Action: Advertising Day on the Hill. Attendees heard from important members of key Congressional Committees, the Federal Trade Commission as well as issue experts discussing tax policy and the advertising tax deduction, privacy and multiculturalism.  

After the morning briefing, these members of AAF’s grassroots force conducted close to 100 meetings with Senators, Representatives and their legislative staff to discuss advertising issues and the industry’s importance to the economy and job creation.  One of the topics of discussion was the Yoder-Engel letter defending the advertising tax deduction. Many Representatives credited these meetings as reaffirming their decision to sign the letter.

View attendees posts, pics and comments from #AdDayOnTheHill on Instagram, and .

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The AAF protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities. Our nation-wide network monitors advertising-related legislation on local, state and federal levels. We put our members face-to-face with influential lawmakers while encouraging self-regulation as a preemptor to government intervention, when appropriate of course. To learn more about our advocacy efforts, click here.