ANA Applauds House Vote on Privacy CRA

Both the U.S. Senate and House have now acted to reverse extremely overly restrictive broadband privacy rules adopted last October by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Before those rules were adopted, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for many years had been judiciously policing online companies' privacy practices, and taking enforcement actions where needed to root out any bad behavior. But overlooking its own precedents, the FCC chose to usurp the FTC’s long-standing privacy role and expertise. The FCC ignored customers’ expectations regarding privacy and notice by  categorizing vast amounts of data as “sensitive” and instituting an opt-out regime. The agency also disregarded the FTC’s approach and failed to take into account advertisers’ highly successful self-regulatory program carried out through the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). Had Congress not acted to stop this misguided policy, consumers would have faced an onslaught of opt-in notices that would have annoyed them without providing any tangible benefits or been forced to accept a global opt-in without the ability to assess the specific circumstances to make a reasoned choice.

We applaud Congress’ action to put privacy regulation back where it should be: with the FTC. We eagerly await the President’s signature on this legislation, so that advertisers and consumers once again have certainty and protection, and online activities once again will be able to produce great commercial benefits. We will work with the FCC and the FTC to assure that this appropriate approach to consumer privacy is reinstituted.