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AAF National Government Report September 2020

September 30, 2020

  • Senate Committee Conducts Privacy Hearing
  • New California Privacy Initiative to Go Before Voters in November
  • AAF Responds to Texas Privacy Survey
  • Know How to Vote
  • AAF Government Affairs Committee to Meet via Zoom
  • Updates from the Digital Advertising Alliance
Senate Committee Conducts Privacy HearingOn September 23 the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation conducted a hearing entitled, “Revisiting the Need for Federal Data Privacy Legislation.” The witnesses were Julie Brill, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Privacy and Regulatory Affairs, Microsoft and Former Commissioner, Federal Trade CommissionWilliam Kovacic, Former FTC Chairman and Commissioner; Jon Leibowitz, Former FTC Chairman and Commissioner; Maureen Ohlhausen, Former Commissioner and Acting FTC Chairman; and Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General. During the hearing, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) submitted a letter from AAF supported Privacy for America to the record. In response to a question echoing many of AAF and Privacy for America’s concerns related to compliance and consumer protection concerns with multiple state laws Leibowitz expressed support for uniform data protections. Kovacic noted FTC’s ability to research the costs of compliance of laws. Brill added that legislation should include a scale to protect small businesses from burdensome costs.Prior to the hearing Commerce Committee Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS), and members John Thune (R-SD)Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Setting an American Framework to Ensure Data Access, Transparency, and Accountability (SAFE DATA) Act. The legislation aims to provide consumers with more choice and control over their data and directs businesses to be more transparent and accountable for their data practices. The bill would also enhance the FTC’s authority and provide additional resources to enforce the Act.

AAF and Privacy for America support an effective national privacy standard that would protect consumers while allowing consumers and businesses to enjoy the many benefits that come with the responsible use of data. Privacy for America has developed comprehensive principles for such a law and is encouraging lawmakers to adopt many them in any future legislation.

New California Privacy Initiative to Go Before Voters in NovemberAs previously reported, the California Privacy Rights Act was verified as a ballot initiative and will go before voters in the November election. AAF has joined many of our allies in opposing the initiative. Our opposition is primarily procedural. The initiative would supplant the California Consumer Privacy Act which only became enforceable on July 1 of this year. AAF believes policymakers should take time to assess the impact of the CCPA before any changes are made.
AAF Responds to Texas Privacy SurveyAAF and allied associations recently responded to a Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council survey seeking input regarding possible future privacy laws. The comments reminded policymakers of the many benefits that come with the responsible use of data – to consumers, businesses and the economy. While the ad industry supports effective privacy protections, the comments warned against adopting an overly restrictive approach which could undermine the aforementioned benefits to the detriment of all.
Know How to VoteBecause of the COVID-19 pandemic, voting in procedures in many states have been altered. Most states offer increased opportunities to vote early or by mail. Many states have fewer polling places because of a decline in poll workers. Be sure you know how to vote in you state to make sure that your vote counts. Local news sources and your state’s Secretary of State are both good resources to learn the correct way to vote in your state.
AAF Government Affairs Committee to Meet via ZoomThe next meeting of the AAF Government Affairs Committee will be conducted via Zoom on Tuesday, October 13 at 2:00 pm Eastern (1:00 pm Central, Noon Mountain and 11:00 am Pacific). The call will focus exclusively on privacy issues. Committee Chair Carla Michelotti and AAF EVP-Government Affairs Clark Rector will be joined by Michael Signorelli of the Venable law firm and one of the country’s foremost experts on privacy policy issues. Anyone interested in participating in the call can contact Clark Rector for registration information.
The AAF is pleased to offer these important updates from our partners at the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA).
Newly Updated DAA Consumer Survey Underscores Advertising’s Increasing Perceived Value—Pegged at $1,400 Per YearAAF members know firsthand the value of digital and mobile advertising—and so do U.S. consumers, according to a new Digital Advertising Alliance-administered survey.According to the mid-September survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, Americans place a value of more than $1,400 per year on the array of free digital content, services, and mobile apps that are currently funded by advertising, according to a new survey conducted by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). Respondents said those ad-supported content and services were worth $1,404 annually, an increase of $206.64—or 17 percent—over the $1,197 that respondents assigned in value to such services in a similar survey in 2016.
“With tens of millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, ad-supported digital content and services save families significant money by reducing the cost for access to vital information, tools, and content, so it is imperative we continue our work of protecting the advertising model that helps fund those services,” said Lou Mastria, executive director of DAA. “Paying an additional $1,400 per year for access to popular websites, services, and apps is not a viable option for most Americans. The DAA will continue to provide convenient and effective tools for choice around the types of advertising consumers want to receive.”Among the survey’s other findings:

  • The vast majority (85 percent) say they would reduce their online and mobile activities if they had to pay hundreds of dollars a year for the content and services they currently get for free.
  • Four in five respondents (80 percent) say they would be more likely to purchase a mobile phone offering more free apps over a comparable phone with fewer free apps.
  • Nearly all the respondents (93 percent) say free Internet content such as news, weather, email, and blogs is very or somewhat important to them.
  • A large majority (84 percent) say they prefer the current ad-supported Internet where most content and services are free over a paid Internet with no advertising.
Election 2020 Reminder: License the DAA Political Ads Icon and Marker for Mobile & Digital “Express Advocacy” Campaign AdsWe’re one month away for Election 2020 – which means political advertising is in the home stretch.  The DAA Political Ads Icon seeks to give voters – and campaign advertisers – necessary transparency, and is currently enforced by DAA’s two independent Accountability Partners, BBB National Programs and the Association of National Advertisers.
Using the Political Ads icon—which is free to license (subject to qualification)—and the associated disclosures that must accompany such digital political ads, we can help promote integrity in our elections.In short, political ads on digital and mobile platforms need to be transparent and accountable, and DAA asks that each express advocacy ad, for state and federal office, at a minimum should disclose:

  • Name of the political advertiser;
  • Phone number, address, website, or alternative and reliable contact information for the advertiser;
  • Other information required by applicable federal or state law for such notices;
  • Link to a government database of contributions and expenditures for the advertiser, if applicable;
  • Any disclaimers required by state or federal law, if the ad itself is too small to display them (as permitted by applicable law); and
  • Name(s) of the advertiser’s CEO, executive committee, board of directors, or treasurer.

Several ad tech companies are making sure that the DAA Political Ads icon and disclosures are deliverable—and much the same way they facilitate the YourAdChoices icon with interest-based ads.

And to voters, the DAA team continues to keep a campaign-lookup data base up to date, always-on, and connected—a click or two away for voters to use to see if a particular campaign is actually registered in their home state.

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.
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