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Advertisers Diss GDPR, State Internet Regulation Efforts

As Washington continues to ponder whether and how to regulate edge providers in terms of data collection, online privacy, third-party info sharing and more, advertisers are advising the Trump Administration not to throw out the ad-supported model.

That came in comments to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, which is seeking input on internet oversight priorities. NTIA is the Trump Administration's chief communications policy adviser.

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"Advertising and marketing uses of data are hugely beneficial to consumers individually and to the economy as a whole," the major ad trade associations said in their joint filing, signaling that the U.S. should not go the way of Europe's new privacy regime.

Clearly recognizing the current climate for regulating the edge and third-party sharing of user data in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica fiasco, the advertisers said that while they supported targeted federal laws and self-regulatory programs, they oppose "limiting any barrier to the responsible collection and use of information on the internet that are imposed by foreign jurisdictions."

That was a reference to the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data protection regime that went into effect in May and some in this country have been suggesting should be the U.S. model as well. That EU regime includes opt-in for third-party sharing and huge fines for violations of its various restrictions on collecting and sharing online data.

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The advertisers said the GDPR has already caused harm to the European marketplace by driving some U.S. companies away rather than face "crippling" regulations and fines.

They also said a federal regulatory regime, one focused on overseeing self-regulatory efforts like the Digital Advertising Alliance—was preferable to a patchwork of state efforts, like that of California, to legislate privacy, efforts they labeled "onerous and restrictive local laws that serve to break the well-functioning internet."

Signing on to the comments were the American Advertising Federation, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, Interactive Advertising Bureau, and Network Advertising Initiative.