AAF Government Report | October 2018

September 30, 2018

  • AAF Submits Comments to FTC
  • DTC Price Disclosure Amendment Withdrawn
  • Senate Committee Conducts Privacy Hearing
  • DAA Releases Guidelines for “Political Ad” Icon
  • AAF Opposes Census Citizenship Question
  • Advertising Day on the Hill Date Set
AAF Submits Comments to FTC

The AAF and some of our sister associations have filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission in response to announced hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.”

The comments focus on advances in five areas of the FTC’s interest including in advances in self-regulation through the AAF supported Digital Advertising Alliance.  The five primary points of the comments are:

  1. Consumer protection on the Internet has grown stronger, fostering innovation, economic growth, and consumer trust
  2. The use of big data in a responsible and privacy-conscious manner drives increased competition
  3. The Commission’s authority is an important piece to the privacy and data security framework, but it must be used in a responsible and principled way
  4. Predictive analytics and algorithmic tools drive innovation and connect consumers to the products and services they desire in a responsible manner
  5. Federal and state laws regarding the Internet should be consistent to allow the Internet to continue to function in a cross-border manner, free from arbitrary roadblocks.
DTC Price Disclosure Amendment Withdrawn

During the recent Senate consideration of the Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations bill Senators Richard Durbin, D-Illinois and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa announced their intention to introduce an amendment directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require that advertisements for prescription drugs and biological products include a disclosure of pricing information for these products.

The Advertising Coalition, of which AAF is a founding member, submitted a letter and issue brief explaining our opposition to the proposal, including constitutional concerns and the difficulty of giving accurate price information given the complexity of insurance and government programs.

The Senators ultimately did not introduce the amendment, however there have been indications that the Trump administration may try to advance a similar plan.

Senate Committee Conducts Privacy Hearing

On September 26, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing on “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Privacy.”  Witnesses included a representative of AAF corporate member Google.

The hearing touched on a wide range of issues, perhaps the most important the acknowledgement that there is a broad industry consensus supporting the adoption of a single federal standard for data-driven advertising and privacy standards.  Generally speaking the industry representatives supported giving consumers transparency, control, portability and security over data practices.

While the specific details of how these goals are achieved, AAF is also supportive of a single effective federal standard for how consumer data is used in data-driven advertising.  As reported in a previous issue of Government Report California has passed a Consumer Privacy Law.  AAF is concerned that if multiple and inconsistent state laws are enacted it will be difficult if not impossible for companies to comply with each law and lead to limitations on innovation and services which would harm consumers as well as the companies.

DAA Releases Guidelines for “Political Ad” IconThe AAF supported Digital Advertising Alliance has released the creative implementation guidelines for use of the “Political Ad” icon, the latest advance in digital advertising self-regulation.  The icon should link to disclosures that include name and contact information for the advertiser, as well as other information mandated by applicable law.

In an August 23 meeting, the Maryland State Board of election voted to allow covered political entities to use a Political Ad-type icon in small ads that links to disclosures mandated by Maryland.

AAF Opposes Census Citizenship QuestionThe AAF has joined the other major advertising industry trade associations on a letter opposing the inclusion on the 2020 Census of the question that asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

AAF believes such a question would depress responses among non-citizens and their families, even if family members are citizens.  This would lead to flawed census results raising significant issues for marketing.  Inaccurate data would result in a misallocation of resources negatively impacting both marketers and the undercounted communities they seek to serve.

Advertising Day on the Hill Date Set

The next Advertising Day on the Hill will be in Washington, DC on March 6 and 7, 2019.  Mark your calendars and plan to attend this important event.  Attendees will be briefed by experts on the important issues facing the advertising industry and visit with their Senators, Representative and staff to explain the value of advertising to the economy and the implications, positive or negative, of proposed laws on the advertising industry. For sponsorship opportunities contact AAF’s Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, Clark Rector at crector@aaf.org.

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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