Biden To Call For 'Strong Limits' On Targeted Advertising

President Joe Biden plans to call for stringent curbs on targeted advertising data collection in Tuesday evening's State of the Union address.

“Big Tech companies collect huge amounts of data on the things we buy, the websites we visit, and the places we go,” the White House stated in a fact sheet outlining Biden's speech. “There should be clear and strict limits on the ability to collect, use, transfer, and maintain our personal data, especially for sensitive data such as geolocation and health information, and the burden must fall on companies -- not consumers -- to minimize how much information they collect.”

The White House added that Biden will call for "bipartisan support to impose strong limits on targeted advertising and the personal data that companies collect on all Americans."

Biden will also urge lawmakers to completely ban online targeted advertising to children and young people, and to “enact strong protections for their privacy, health and safety online.”

Last year, lawmakers introduced a sweeping privacy bill, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), that would have outlawed some forms of behavioral advertising, while also restricting data collection.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the bipartisan bill by a vote of 53-2, but the full House did not vote on the measure, and the Senate did not hold hearings on it.

David Cohen, CEO of the ad organization Interactive Advertising Bureau, recently noted that bill in a speech condemning “extremists" who supposedly aim to “cripple the advertising industry and eliminate it from the American economy and culture.”

“I’m here to tell you that if the national data privacy law (ADPPA) that made progress at the end of 2022 had passed, it would destroy our industry,” he said. “Big Tech, Small Tech and everything in-between Tech.”

Another bill that advanced last year, the Kids Online Safety Act, would have required web companies to act in the best interest of users under the age of 17.

Among other provisions, the bill would have required online companies to take reasonable steps to "prevent and mitigate physical, mental, financial, developmental, or other material harms to minors" -- including mental health disorders, self-harm, suicide, eating disorders and substance use disorders.

Critics of that bill said the broad mandate to act in users' best interests -- including by curbing content protected by free-speech principles, such as material associated with eating disorders -- was both unworkable and unconstitutional.

“There is no way to accurately identify what content might exacerbate self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, or substance use disorders,” the libertarian organization TechFreedom and a group of law professors said in a letter sent to lawmakers last year.


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