Legislative Oversteps being Pushed Back

September 25, 2017

Last week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued a veto of HB 3449, the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act. The bill “sought to require businesses and other private entities to get express consent from consumers before collecting, using, storing or disclosing geolocation information from mobile apps,” according to the Chicago Tribune. ANA strongly believes that this sort of legislation is unnecessary and would create overly burdensome requirements for advertisers who use this sort of data to target advertisements to consumers on mobile devices.

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) standard definition of “personal information” does not include geolocation information, yet even so, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has included this type of data in their self-regulatory principles for the mobile environment. Advertisers that abide by the DAA principles are already collecting and using customers’ geolocation data in a transparent manner, and consumers have the ability to edit their preferences about which advertisers have access to this data if they choose. As Gov. Rauner said in his veto statement, “To the degree that there is company abuse of these laws and policies, such as tracking people without their consent or hiding collection and disclosure practices, the solution is not yet another layer of state government rules and bureaucracy, but instead the enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission of existing laws or enforcement of existing policies by creators and distributors of digital applications.”  

After the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband privacy rules were overturned by Congress and President Trump in April of this year, over twenty different states, cities, and municipalities initiated efforts to reinstate these rules in one form or another at the local level. Most recently, ANA and our industry partners fought to have California’s broadband privacy bill moved to the inactive file for this legislative session.

It is clear from these broadband privacy initiatives, coupled with the recent activity regarding geolocation information in Illinois, that many lawmakers understand that new reactionary and poorly developed privacy rules could be extremely harmful not just to advertisers, but to the functioning of the entire internet ecosystem. We will continue to urge these state officials to consider all of the implications of their potential new rules before moving forward with proposals that could actually harm consumers more than help them.

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