AAF Government Report October 2021

october 15, 2021
california attorney general oversteps on privacy
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has released a set of frequently asked questions for consumers addressing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that AAF believes goes beyond his authority and the intent of the law. We have written to the AG to outline our concerns:

  • The FAQs conflict with the approach taken in the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020,
  • There was no public process for evaluating or considering the cited tools or particular implementations by the browser referenced in the FAQ,
  • The FAQs prejudices subject matters on which the new California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) has been directed to promulgate rules.
california privacy agency names executive director
The California Privacy Protection Agency has named Ashkan Soltani as its first Executive Director. Soltani has served as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama Administration and as the Chief Technologist for the Federal Trade Commission. He has often been critical of industry’s privacy practices.
aaf comments on minnesota legislation
AAF and many of our allied associations have provided comments on privacy legislation introduced by Minnesota State Representative Steve Elkins. The comments urge the lawmaker to align his bill as much as possible with laws already passed in other states, such as Virginia; retain Attorney General enforcement while rejecting a private right of action; and reconsider mandating broad opt-in consent requirements. While the legislature has adjourned until January of 2022, Rep. Elkins has indicated his intent to pursue the issue in the next session.
proposed digital ad tax regulations released
The Maryland Comptroller’s office has published proposed regulations for implementation of the Digital Advertising Tax. Comments will be accepted through Nov. 8. The tax is still set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. The proposed regulations are quite technical in nature and preliminary reviews by tax experts suggest that they do not address all of the compliance issues taxpayers will need answered prior to next year.
privacy receives congressional attention
On Capitol Hill, privacy issues have been the subject of hearings and proposed legislation but little forward action towards enacting a federal privacy bill.

Recent Congressional hearings that have touched on privacy issues have included one in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Transforming the FTC: Legislation to Modernize Consumer Protection; a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Big Data, Big Questions: Implications for Competition and Consumers; and a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Protecting Consumer Privacy.

Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have introduced the Setting and American Framework to Ensure Data Access, Transparency, and Accountability (SAFE DATA) Act. Focusing on children’s privacy issues, Representative Kathy Castor, D-Fla., introduced the Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth Act. So far in the current session of Congress well over 100 bills have been introduced addressing some form of privacy, Sec. 230 or social networks and platform reforms.

There is near unanimity among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, consumer advocates and the tech and advertising industries that everyone would be well served by a strong national privacy law. There is even broad agreement on many of the contours such a law should take. Unfortunately, given the many other priorities in Congress (infrastructure, the debt ceiling, the budget, etc.) and an atmosphere of bi-partisan deadlock and mistrust, it does not appear that a national privacy law will be enacted any time soon.

AAF believes a national privacy law would benefit consumers and businesses and is working with the Privacy for America coalition to urge Congress to move forward.

ftc privacy update
While Congress is deadlocked, a group of nine Democratic Senators have written to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan encouraging the Commission to begin a rulemaking process to “protect consumer privacy, promote civil rights and set clear safeguards on the collection and use of personal data in the digital economy.”

A group called Accountable Tech has petitioned the FTC to “initiate rulemaking to prohibit the anticompetitive practice of surveillance advertising.” AAF would oppose such a rulemaking and is concerned by the inflammatory moniker of “surveillance advertising.” We believe that the responsible use of data to enable interest-based advertising provides great benefits to both businesses and consumers and should, with appropriate safeguards, be permitted under a national privacy standard.

To date, AAF is unaware of any Commission response to either request.

aaf day on the hill coming in march
The date for AAF’s next Advocacy and Action: Advertising Day on the Hill has been set for March 16-17, 2022 in Washington, DC. Advertising professionals from across the country will gather to get a briefing on the important issues facing the advertising industry and go to Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers and their staffs about those issues and the vital role that advertising plays in driving the U.S. economy.

Registration is open and the cost is only $50. Information on a hotel room block will be available soon.

Many things have changed in Washington, DC since our last event, but one thing that has not—and will never—change is the importance of making our voice heard on the issues that impact how advertising industry professionals do their jobs.

Register now and plan to be in Washington, DC for AAF’s Advocacy and Action: Advertising Day on the Hill. Please contact AAF’s EVP, Government Affairs, Clark Rector if you have any questions.

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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