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ANA Seeks Uniform National Privacy Standard

Advertisers are advising the Trump Administration to avoid regulating privacy along the lines of Europe's General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) or California's privacy law, overly restrictive approaches they argue would harm consumers and businesses by threatening the targeted digital ad model that supports free online content. Instead, they are offering what is billed as a "new privacy paradigm"

That came in comments to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) from the Association of National Advertisers.

Related: Silicon Valley Says Fed Privacy Law Should Trump States

NTIA is looking to come up with "a set of user-centric privacy outcomes that underpin the protections that should be produced by any Federal actions on consumer-privacy policy [both on and off line], and a set of high-level goals that describe the outlines of the ecosystem that should be created to provide those protections." That language signals the Trump Administration is not looking to come up with suggestions for prescriptive regulations in that space, which is not surprising given the President's emphasis on getting rid of regulations rather than creating new ones.

ANA says that the GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will have "potentially damaging implications for U.S. businesses and consumers....This overly restrictive approach threatens the free flow of information that is vital to delivering the products and services that consumers value and expect," ANA said. It instead said the Trump Administration should adopt a "new paradigm" for determining when data collection is reasonable.

ANA said there should be a single national standard that identifies some practices as per se violations under the FTC Act, and others per se reasonable, with the rest subjected to a set of criteria in the standard to determine which they are. In the "per se reasonable" category, ANA suggests the use of nonsensitive information (the definition of that will be important) for advertising purposes, with consumers having "transparency and choice." Per se unreasonable practices, it said, could include discrimination based on "employment eligibility, credit eligibility, health care treatment eligibility; insurance eligibility, underwriting, and pricing; education and financial aid eligibility; and housing eligibility."

Activity not deemed per se reasonable or unreasonable would be reviewed according to set criteria.