Ad Group Offers Up Version of Privacy Bill

Privacy for America has offered up a new framework for national privacy legislation that includes new protections for "tweens" (13-16), an eraser button for deleting information from the Web, and new rulemaking authority for the Federal Trade Commission.

The group's members* comprise the major advertising associations that want to protect both privacy and the ad-supported online content business model. There is bipartisan support from virtually all quarters for some type of federal privacy legislation, so advertisers are looking to put a stake in the ground for their "version of such protections.

Related: Dems Call for Privacy Bill of Rights

The announcement follows the recent introduction of tough new Democrat-backed privacy "bill of rights" bills in the Senate and House.

Democrats have long called for the "eraser button" and extending online protections to kids older than 12, the current limit for the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

While Democrats propose creating an entirely new privacy enforcement agency, the Privacy for America proposal would create a new Data Protection Bureau within the Federal Trade Commission.

The framework, which expands on principles enumerated last April when the Privacy for America coalition was formed, would provide for:

"Prohibitions against using consumer data to determine eligibility for a job, health care, financial aid, insurance, credit or housing outside of existing laws governing eligibility for these important benefits;

"Prohibitions against discrimination by using consumer data to set higher prices based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sexual orientation, and more;

"Prohibitions against using sensitive information like health, financial, biometric, and geolocation data without first obtaining users’ express consent;

"Provisions protecting so-called “tweens”: a vulnerable group of consumers over age 12 and under age 16 that is actively engaged online but not often subject to constant parental oversight;

"A requirement that companies make privacy policies much easier to read and understand;

"Provisions that give consumers the right to request access to and deletion of the personal information that a company holds about them, as well as the right to port certain data from one platform to another;

"Individuals can choose to limit companies’ use of personal information to draw detailed inferences or make predictions about them, with certain exceptions; and

"Significant new rulemaking authority, resources, and staff that will allow the Federal Trade Commission to more aggressively pursue and punish bad actors, bolstered by enforcement by state attorneys general."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.