Washington, DC– The Interactive Advertising Bureau has hit back strongly against the Federal Trade Commission’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) relating to “commercial surveillance” arguing that the move should reduce digital advertising by billions of dollars and that the agency is greatly exceeding its authority.
In a filing with the FTC, IAB executive vice president of public policy Lartease Tiffith appealed to the FTC to reduce the routine collection, aggregation and analysis of consumer data to “commercial surveillance,” moving to dismiss the IAB’s publication as “a definition so broad that the FTC’s rule could criminalize the Internet itself.” .
In August in the FTC * He said the rules of spying to crack down on harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security for targeted marketing and consumer data processing.
“Firms are now collecting personal data on a massive scale and in a staggering array of contexts,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan in a statement. “The growing digitization of our economy – coupled with business models that can instigate the endless flow of sensitive user data and the vast expansion of how this data is used – means the potential for illicit practices to prevail. Today’s goal is to begin building a robust public tool to inform whether the FTC will issue rules to limit commercial and data security practices, and what those rules should potentially look like.”
The move could have an important impact on digital targeting and advertising, which seems to fit the agency’s definition of “commercial surveillance” as the business of collecting, analyzing and profiting from information about people.
In response, the IAB noted in a filing that “the Internet is built on the continuous exchange of information between devices and servers – without these exchanges, the Internet and its social, cultural, economic and personal benefits.”
The filing also highlighted the impact of digital advertising in supporting free and small content and services online.
“Data-driven advertising greatly benefits consumers by helping the US economy and creating and maintaining American jobs,” the IAB filing said. “The data-driven advertising and Internet economy supports and drives, contributed 2.45 trillion to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States of America in 2020, and accounted for 12 percent of GDP….Additionally, 2.1 million were employed in e-commerce. in the United States in 2020 , generating $715 billion in revenue. Many of those million companies are small businesses and sole proprietorships that can achieve success and grow their customer base thanks to data-driven advertising technology that lowers barriers to entry and expands global reach.”
If the FTC’s restrictions are imposed, the IAB said, “Regulations restricting data-driven advertising could similarly have devastating consequences on the over 17 million Americans who are supported by data-driven advertising. Most of those jobs are created by small businesses and self-employed individuals in all 50 states and across many countries. In fact, 19% of all Internet work is done by humans and human servants in small teams of five or fewer.
“Furthermore, if the Commission’s guidelines are implemented in banning personalized or targeted advertising, it is likely to move between $32 billion and $39 billion in advertising and ecosystem revenue from the open web by 2025,” the IAB said.
In the filing, the IAB also argued that the FTC has no authority to label “per se all practices that use “consumer information” as unfair or deceptive,” a question of “significant economic and political importance” reserved to Congress, according to the FTC’s governing laws and Supreme Court doctrine.
In fact, Congress is now dealing with a national federal privacy law with several on the same issue, and states are deciding their own rules, or refusing to, under the FTC’s lack of authority, the IAB argues.
“The IAB represents over 700 leading companies across the digital advertising industry, from brands and publishers to marketing agencies and technologies. We are ready to offer our collective expertise and perspective to improve the FTC’s understanding of digital advertising in the modern economy, in small businesses and every American relies on the ad-supported Internet for news, information, entertainment, commerce and community,” said David Cohen, CEO, IAB .
The group also confirmed that it is a member based on Privacy for America, an industry initiative to protect privacy, jobs and economic growth, and the IAB supports the FTC’s rule in key areas and stronger enforcement.
The framework provides clear rules of the road for individuals, businesses, and law-makers to stop harmful and unintended data practices while continuing to benefit digital advertising, the group said.