Cybersecurity Breaches Underscore Urgency for Action

January 13, 2015

Recent events have put a spotlight on the need to take action on data security and privacy. The data security issue has rocketed to the top of President Obama’s agenda after cybersecurity incidents have plagued Sony, Home Depot, Target and most recently, the official Twitter and YouTube accounts of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). As these incidents continue to dominate headlines, President Obama is putting data privacy at the top of his agenda in the week preceding the State of the Union address. 

The President in addition announced the imminent introduction of two new proposals around data security, including the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, which will focus on setting a federal standard that gives companies a 30-day window to inform customers of a data breach or hack. The attempt to set a national policy is in response to current significant conflicts between state laws when it comes to data security issues.

ANA has advocated for federal data security legislation for some time. In early 2014, we joined with fifteen other industry groups to ask Congress to find a way to preempt the patchwork of 47 inconsistent state laws and develop a system that would allow businesses to better comply with data breach standards. We stressed that this legislation should preempt the state laws in the area and only require reporting for material breaches. In Congress, Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Peter Welch (D-VT) already have announced that they are working on a bill to lay the foundation for the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act.

President Obama is also seeking the creation of a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.” In collaboration with the private sector, the Administration and FTC are establishing a list of “basic principles to both protect personal privacy and ensure that industry can keep innovating.” In remarks delivered to the FTC yesterday, the President stated that “consumers have the right to decide what personal data companies collect from them and how companies use that data, that information; the right to know that…personal information collected for one purpose can’t then be misused by a company for a different purpose; the right to have…information stored securely by companies that are accountable for its use.” That legislation is anticipated to arrive by the end of January.

Concerns around security and data privacy were also front and center at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which took place last week in Las Vegas. With over 150,000 attendees, and a Digital Disruption Track led by the ANA, it was clear that as much as people want cutting-edge technology they want to be assured that their data will not be compromised by its use. During opening remarks at CES, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez framed the debate by stating, “In the not-too-distant future, many, if not most, aspects of our everyday lives will be digitally observed and stored. That data trove will contain a wealth of revealing information that, when patched together, will present a deeply personal and startlingly complete picture of each of us.” To meet this challenge, ANA with a number of its association partners has been a leader in responding to consumer concerns through the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), the online privacy self-regulatory program. This program recently has expanded to mobile media and provides consumers with broad control over targeted advertising.

Data privacy and security are very important to advertisers and ANA will continue to lead efforts and work with Congress, the Administration and the private sector to protect consumers. ANA and its members want to continue to ensure that advertising can reach consumers in a way that is efficient, personalized, tailored, and still safe. The advertising industry looks forward to the implementation of increased safeguards, and proactive safety measures that will still allow an industry reliant on big data to utilize it in a way that’s beneficial to consumers nationwide.

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