Privacy Legislation Update: Part 3

boucherThe wait is over, but not the debate. Today, U.S. Representatives Rick Boucher (VA-09), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and Cliff Stearns, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, released a discussion draft of legislation to assure the privacy of information about individuals both on the Internet and offline. Congress may never pass a law, but for now at least, it appears our collective industry efforts to educate House Engergy and Commerce Committee members has paid off. I was especially relieved to read this paragraph about a "carve-out" for ad networks, which speaks directly to the huge educational efforts put forth by the IAB, NAI and several competitors and colleagues alike over the past year:

The bill creates an exception to the opt-in consent requirement for third-party information sharing by applying opt-out consent to the sharing of an individual’s information with a third-party ad network if there is a clear, easy-to-find link to a webpage for the ad network that allows a person to edit his or her profile, and if he chooses, to opt out of having a profile, provided that the ad network does not share the individual’s information with anyone else.

Consumer privacy groups are not satisfied with the fact that the legislation, as currently drafted, would rely heavily on consumers privacy policies. Yet, it would require companies to allow consumers a higher degree of control over the collection and use of their data. This requirement would be burdensome to advertsing companies, but in the long run may yield higher performance for advertisers and a more relevant experience for consumers. 

So it appears the online advertising industry dodged a bullet for now, but there is much more education and debate to unfold in the months ahead.

Click here to read an executive summary of the draft.

Click here for the full text of the bill.