The ad industry is aiming to enlist the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration to fight against potential new privacy laws comparable to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.
In a letter submitted this week, the Association of National Advertisers asks the NTIA to scrutinize the GDPR and other new privacy measures.
"We believe the NTIA will find that laws like the GDPR will limit competition, overburden consumers with opt-in notices and make an efficient and effective digital economy harder to maintain," Dan Jaffe, executive vice president for government relations with the ANA, writes. "NTIA should share its findings with international bodies and policymakers considering adopting GDPR-like legislation."
The ANA's filing comes in response to the NTIA's call for comments about internet policy issues. The ad organization tells the NTIA that strong privacy protections are "important," but adds that they must be "balanced with the other benefits of the digital economy that consumers value and expect, including personalized services, seamless product and service offerings, and affordable choices."
The organization warns against the "overregulation" of data, and specifically criticizes California's new privacy law, stating that it could "disrupt the digital economy."
"Patchwork and misguided regulation at the state level that severely burdens the collection and use of data is likely to deter entry, thwart innovation, and limit competition in the sale of online advertising," the letter states. "If online advertising and marketing becomes less effective, it will impede companies’ ability to provide online content and services to the public. This could hinder innovation or drive businesses to shift from offering free content and services to demanding direct payment from consumers."
California's new law gives consumers the right to prevent the sale of information about them, including their web-browsing history, IP addresses, search histories and other data. The bill, which was signed last month, will take effect in 2020.
The ANA argues that the GDPR and the new California measure spark "a false sense of concern in the public about the use of largely innocuous marketing data."
The group also urges the NTIA to advocate thar the ad industry regulate itself on privacy matters. "Industry self-regulation is more flexible and adaptable than legislation, and therefore self-regulation can adapt quickly to changes in consumer expectations or available technologies," the organization writes.
Some other commenters are urging the NTIA to take the opposite approach. The digital rights group Center for Democracy & Technology says it supports "comprehensive privacy legislation," and is asking the NTIA "to embrace the need for a legislative solution."
Browser manufacturer Mozilla also is pushing the NTIA to support federal privacy legislation.
"A healthy internet is private and secure," the company writes. "Internet users should be able to have greater choice over what information they share with what organizations and for what benefit."