Advertisers Lobby Against “Onerous” California Privacy Bill

Blockchain, Crime, Innovation, News | August 25, 2017 By:

A national advertising coalition is mobilizing to stop a proposed California law that will regulate and potentially disruptive interactive advertising technology.

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is mobilizing alongside partner groups to fight the state’s proposed Broadband Internet Privacy Act (AB 375). The proposed law would categorize almost all ISP communications, including web browsing history, as “personally identifiable” and “sensitive.”  Many blockchain applications extrapolate such data, and the new bill would require them to opt-in to any use of that information.

The ANA calls the bill “counterproductive” that “threatens to seriously disrupt Internet advertising by classifying virtually all ISP communication, including web browsing history, as personally identifiable and creating the need for opt-in consent for the collection of this data. All advertisers that use this type of data to target advertisements to consumers online will be affected. “Due to California’s enormous impact on the U.S. economy, this legislation would create broad adverse precedents and have immediate harmful marketplace impacts,” an ANA statement claims.

The current version of the bill was released late last week and is a substantial revision of the earlier bill, which was approved by two Senate committees. The new changes do not reflect FCC broadband privacy rules. “The latest amendments to the bill, while a well-intentioned effort to reflect the rules, completely miss key clarifications in the 219-page FCC Report and Order that were part of the FCC’s action. The FCC’s Final Rules were controversial and conflicted seriously both with the Obama White House’s 2012 Privacy Report and the position of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding appropriate privacy policy. Without the clarifications in the Report and Order, the Rules would never have been adopted and would have been indefensibly overbroad, as AB 375 as amended is today.”

“Where personally identifiable data is being collected by ISPs, opt in appears to be required, however innocuous the data,” said Dan Jaffe, the EVP of government relations for the ANA. “Unlike previous privacy laws the trigger does not depend on the sensitivity of the data. Furthermore ,while AB 375 ostensibly is following the FCC privacy rule model, it does not include the more than 200 pages of explanatory material the FCC included with its rule, leaving a vast number of unanswered questions and ambiguities. We believe this bill would lead to consumers being bombarded with opt-in requests which would be highly annoying and counterproductive.”