Former FCC Staffer To Head IAB's Lobbying Efforts

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has tapped Dave Grimaldi, former chief of staff to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, to lead lobbying efforts in Washington.

Grimaldi will replace former executive vice president Mike Zaneis, who will officially leave the IAB early next year. Zaneis now serves as CEO of the industry organization Trustworthy Accountability Group. Grimaldi, currently director of public affairs for the online radio service Pandora, will join the IAB in January.

Before joining Pandora in April of 2014, Grimaldi spent more than three years at the FCC. Immediately prior to that, he served as senior counsel for Clyburn's father, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.).

Zaneis says that Grimaldi's background in the public and private sectors made him particularly appealing to the IAB. "The richness of his background was incredibly attractive," Zaneis says.

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Pandora has recently been fighting high-profile battles in Washington over the amount of royalties it must pay. But the company's policy agenda also is broad enough to encompass issues like online privacy, Zaneis says. "Pandora does a lot of targeted advertising," he adds.

In addition to customizing ads based on information like users' geolocation, Pandora also considers users' musical preferences when sending them targeted ads.

Grimaldi's appointment comes as the FCC is preparing to propose new privacy rules for broadband carriers. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler hasn't yet offered specifics, but recently suggested that the agency will require telecoms and cable companies to notify consumers about the possibility of online data collection, and allow them to wield control over how that data is used.

Earlier this year, Zaneis and other IAB representatives met with FCC officials to discuss the industry's interests in digital advertising and privacy. At the time, IAB representatives asked the agency whether it planned to conduct a rulemaking or issue guidance regarding broadband privacy.

The FCC's recent decision to reclassify broadband as a utility service empowers the agency to subject broadband providers to the same kinds of privacy rules followed by telephone carriers. The agency said in March that it will “forbear” from applying the precise rules that it imposes on telephone companies, but will consider issuing new broadband-specific rules. Since then, the FCC has rejected a request to require ad networks and Web content companies like Google and Facebook to stop tracking people who activate do-not-track commands in their browsers.

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