The ad industry is joining tech companies and broadband providers in opposing a California privacy initiative that would allow consumers to prevent data about them from being sold.
Three industry organizations -- the Association of National Advertisers, Data & Marketing Association and Network Advertising Initiative -- recently donated a combined $125,000 to a group opposing the proposal. Microsoft recently contributed $195,000, while Uber donated $50,000.
The proposed California Consumer Privacy Act would require companies to tell consumers what "personal information" has been collected about them upon their request, and allow consumers to prevent that information from being sold to third parties.
The initiative's broad definition of personal information includes not only names, street addresses and email addresses, but also information that many marketers don't consider personally identifiable -- like IP addresses, device identifiers, geolocation data and web-browsing history.
Backers of the initiative recently submitted 625,000 signatures in favor of it -- almost twice as many as the 365,880 needed to qualify for a spot on November's ballot. Supporters include the Consumer Federation of California, search engine Duck Duck Go, Consumers Union and the Center for Public Interest Law.
Earlier this year, five companies -- Facebook, Google, Verizon, AT&T and Comcast -- gave $200,000 each to the opposition effort. Facebook and Verizon subsequently dropped out of the organization leading the opposition -- which calls itself the "Committee to Protect California Jobs."
The ANA previously weighed in against Federal Communications Commission privacy regulations that required broadband providers to obtain consumers' opt-in consent before drawing on their web-browsing history for ad targeting. Those regulations, passed in 2016, were repealed last year by Congress. The ANA also helped derail a proposed California law that would have restored the FCC privacy regulations on a statewide basis.