Bipartisan Privacy Bill Would Limit Targeted Advertising

targeted advertising
(Image credit: John Lund)

A comprehensive data privacy bill that would, among many other things, allow web users to opt out of targeted advertising — and ban ads aimed at children entirely — is heading to a markup July 20 in the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

The bipartisan American Data Privacy and Protection Act (H.R. 8152) is a comprehensive national privacy regime that would require companies to collect only the data necessary to provide their products or services, bill proponent Common Cause said, and would allow consumers to correct or delete their data. There are also prohibitions on discriminatory data practices/algorithms/ad delivery.

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The bill would require that consumers get a clear and conspicuous opportunity to opt out of targeted advertising. If a consumer is under 17, and an advertiser knows that, they cannot be targeted with advertising at all. 

The bill also creates a Youth Privacy and Marketing Division within the Federal Trade Commission, charged with protecting the privacy of children and minors and tasked with looking out for marketing directed at them. The division must report to Congress annually on how successful it has been in its mission and on any emerging concerns about protecting the privacy of children and minors.

The measure has supporters on both sides of the aisle and in both houses of Congress. That’s saying something in these politically divided times, particularly on an issue as complicated as data privacy protections.

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“We are glad to see that the American Data Privacy and Protection Act is going to a full committee markup, and that Republican and Democratic leadership on the House Energy & Commerce Committee has come together on a comprehensive privacy proposal to protect our data online," Common Cause media and democracy program director Yosef Getachew said.

Watchdog group Common Cause is particularly heartened by the inclusion of civil-rights protections, given that privacy and data abuses have hit minority communities particularly hard, the organization said. ▪️

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.