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FTC Proposed Rulemaking Should Avoid Bias and Recognize the Value of Data-Driven Advertising

WASHINGTON, DC (September 7, 2022) – The Network Advertising Initiative today released the following statement by Vice President for Policy David LeDuc in advance of the FTC’s Commercial Surveillance and Data Security Public Forum.

“The FTC should commit to a process that explores and documents the benefits of data-driven advertising and does not exclusively solicit evidence of perceived harms. The NAI and advertising leaders are concerned that the FTC’s proposed rulemaking may be biased against the industry and fail to recognize the value that data-driven advertising delivers for consumers, content creators, and small businesses. 

In fact, data-driven advertising drives free and low-cost digital media for consumers, and it’s a great equalizer for small businesses, allowing them to reach niche or local audiences and compete with larger corporations. The FTC should engage in a balanced assessment that weighs the benefits to consumers and businesses with real harms, and keeps the agency firmly within its statutory authority.

Unfortunately, the agency’s adoption of the term ‘commercial surveillance’ to describe advertising and other legitimate business activity, and the deletion of decades-old language from the FTC strategic plan to pursue its mission ‘without unduly burdening legitimate business activity,’ indicate that the Commission has already drawn its own conclusions about what is in the best interest of consumers. (The ‘industry perspectives’ panel at the FTC public forum tomorrow doesn’t include digital advertising industry representatives so that discussion may be dominated by industry critics.)”

Quinten Paine

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