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DMA: Industry Should Draft Any Future Voluntary Privacy Codes

The Digital Marketing Association already has plenty of suggestions to improve the National Telecommunications & Information Administration's (NTIA) multistakeholder process for enforcing the Obama Administration's consumer privacy "bill of rights." Those include letting industry create guidelines and give individual companies the opportunity to participate or not without any pressure from NTIA.

NTIA is scheduled to hold a "lessons learned" meeting with those stakeholders Thursday (Aug. 29) to help improve that process. In advance of that meeting, one of the stakeholders has written NTIA chief Lawrence Strickling on improving any future stakeholder meetings.

In the letter, Jerry Cerasale, senior VP, government affairs, for DMA, provided a number of suggestions. Those include that industry stakeholders should draft any code they will have to consider adopting, with the multistakeholder meetings providing the opportunity for others, which would include public advocacy groups, to comment on the draft and decide whether or not they will support them.

The Consumer Federation of America has recommended a selection process for code drafters from the broader multistakeholder community, which would include public advocacy groups like CFA. In addition to nixing that idea, DMA also doesn't like CFA's suggestion of hiring an outside party to facilitate or draft the code, and DMA says the industry should handle implementation testing.

Cerasale also says industry players should have the same opportunity not to support the industry-drafted guidelines.

"[I]ndividual companies should have the opportunity at any time to decide whether they will adhere to the code," he wrote. "NTIA should not ask companies to take a public position at a specific time..."

CFA is no big fan of the multistakeholder process, saying in recommendations to NTIA that it did not see how it could "produce meaningful and enforceable guidance on any privacy issue." But in its suggestions for any future meetings if they are held were the larger role for non-industry stakeholders in drafting the code and signing off on any testing.