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The FTC Should Integrate Strong Self-Regulation into Any Privacy Rules

On November 22, we called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to integrate self-regulation by the digital advertising industry into any rules created by the agency’s ongoing regulatory process around privacy. These recommendations were included in our comments to the FTC’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on “commercial surveillance and lax data security practices.”

As an alternative to the overly expansive rulemaking process it is considering, the FTC should empower and promote self-regulatory organizations and standards that can amplify the objectives of the Commission and promote greater collaboration with federal and state regulators. The NAI represents more than 100 ad-tech companies committed to privacy, trust and accountability as core values for the ad-tech industry. Our members are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct, and compliance is promoted by a strong accountability program. Our attorneys subject each member to a comprehensive annual review of their business, data collection and use practices.

In addition to advocating for strong industry self-regulation that complements FTC enforcement, we are also calling on the FTC to maximize competition across the digital advertising ecosystem. Rather than seeking to limit data sharing with service providers and “third parties” for advertising and marketing, the FTC should be focusing more precisely on potentially harmful uses of data, and on the consistent implementation of data stewardship requirements across all of industry, first-party and third-party alike.

Even though we encourage the FTC to avoid a long and uncertain regulatory process, we still believe there is a lot it can do to enhance consumer privacy and data security. We also urge Congress to enact a national privacy law that bans abusive uses of data and allows for innovative uses of data for advertising and the social good.

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