Advertisers Want FTC To Push For National Privacy Law

The Federal Trade Commission should ask Congress to pass national privacy legislation that will override state laws, including a new California measure, the Association of National Advertisers argues in new comments filed this week with the agency.

“Given the changing privacy approach in the states, and the risk of complete fragmentation of the U.S. privacy landscape to the detriment of consumers and businesses alike, we urge the FTC to advocate for the passage of federal legislation that creates a single national standard enforced by the FTC,” the advertising organization writes. The group submitted its comments in preparation for an FTC hearing scheduled for February.

The ANA says it supports an approach that involves allowing companies to use data in ways deemed “per se reasonable,” and prohibiting uses of data deemed “per se unreasonable.”



The reasonable practices “could include the collection and use of non-sensitive data for advertising purposes with consumer transparency and choice,” the ANA writes. Unreasonable ones “could include determining adverse terms or conditions or ineligibility for an individual’s: employment; credit; health care treatment; insurance; education and financial aid,” the group says.

The advertisers' association is again asking the FTC to evaluate California's new privacy law -- which the ANA contends will “greatly restrict all data used for consumers’ benefit even when no privacy risk is associated with the data.”

The California law, which takes effect in 2020, allows consumers to learn what personal information about them is held by businesses, and to opt out of the sale of that information.

The ANA raises several objections to the law, including its broad definition of personal information -- which covers data that identifies or can be linked with consumers or devices.

“Given that this definition could cover nearly any type of data, including someone’s pizza topping choice or the type of operating system used in a mobile device, California has created a law that regulates data well beyond addressing privacy concerns,” the ANA writes.

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