A New Initiative to Advance Industry Privacy Protection Principles and Drive Efforts to Pass a Uniform Federal Privacy Law

December 8, 2023

Big Idea: One of DAA’s founders – American Advertising Federation (AAF) – recently announced it has joined a new privacy initiative launched in October by two other DAA founders – Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and 4A’s.

Big Idea: One of DAA’s founders – American Advertising Federation (AAF) – recently announced it has joined a new privacy initiative launched in October by two other DAA founders – Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and 4A’s.  The Responsible Privacy in Advertising Initiative (RPIA) is designed to evolve and enhance industry data privacy principles for responsible online advertising practices and to reinvigorate congressional efforts to enact preemptive, federal privacy legislation. At DAA, we are excited where this may lead.

More than a dozen states have now enacted new laws related to privacy, creating a confusing and contradictory patchwork of regulations that undercut data-driven advertising and the ad-supported ecosystem of apps, services, and products it funds for consumers.

To rationalize that jumble of state policies, DAA and other major advertising trade organizations in the Privacy for America (P4A) alliance have urged Congress to adopt a uniform national privacy standard that strengthens consumer privacy protections while preserving the ad-supported digital economy, but unfortunately, Congress has yet to act.

Our industry can no longer afford to wait. That’s why three of our leading member-driven organizations – ANA, 4A’s, and now AAF – launched a new effort to take back the initiative on privacy by engaging the industry in dialogue on new cross-industry standards that can serve as a roadmap to Congress on how to design effective, preemptive national legislation. Representatives of AAF and a cross-section of members of ANA and the 4A’s have met several times in series of working sessions over the last two months to drive the initiative forward. Additional meetings are planned in the coming weeks to continue the group’s positive momentum and progress.

Current Patchwork Approach is Confusing to Consumers

The Global DAA Network is an organization that operates in 30+ countries, interacting with millions of consumers every year and independently enforcing a code of privacy conduct on thousands of brands. We know that presenting the consumer with a repeatable, reliable, and always available set of tools based on evergreen principles is one of most impactful ways to provide balanced privacy outcomes to consumers.

We know, too, that the lack of standardization among the patchwork of laws in the US will ultimately be harmful to consumers and their trust in advertisers and advertising. The lack of a federal legislative standard has left a vacuum that is being filled by hundreds of state bills that conflict with one another, shatter key functionality in digital advertising, damage innovation and economic growth, and create consumer confusion.   

New ANA/4A’s/AAF Initiative Puts Focus on Industry Strength:  Successful Self-Regulation to Protect Consumers 

The digital advertising industry has long been the leader in developing strong self-regulatory standards for consumer protection. Now we need to build on that track record of success to demonstrate our continued leadership in protecting consumers while providing a framework for congressional action.

The “Responsible Privacy in Advertising Initiative” will do this by building on the proven standards, cross-industry adoption, and broad recognition of those standards, potentially including the work of the DAA’s AdChoices Programs.

“The current patchwork approach to data privacy in the United States is frustrating, inefficient, and ineffective for consumers and businesses and risks harming the country,” said Bob Liodice, CEO of ANA. “The Responsible Privacy in Advertising Initiative will offer a better path forward while responding to calls from members of Congress and the public for the industry to do more to expand adoption of responsible advertising practices and to play a more active role in protecting Americans from misuse of personal data.”

“Our associations have created some of the longest running, most widely adopted, and successful self-regulatory programs in business,” said Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO of the 4A’s. “The work that we’ve done through our codes of conduct, the Digital Advertising Alliance, and the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, along with Privacy for America’s policy framework, provide a solid foundation on which to build and define the rules for responsible online advertising practices. Integrating the best elements of these efforts and broadening their adoption will give consumers more control over how companies can gather and use personal information, including restricting the use of certain sensitive information for advertising and allowing consumers to opt-out of certain data practices.”

“The responsible use of data for advertising has driven economic growth, expanded the availability of new and improved products for consumers, and enhanced competition,” said Steve Pacheco, president and CEO of the American Advertising Federation. “The Responsible Privacy in Advertising Initiative will help protect these benefits while updating industry practices, advocacy, and self-regulatory and compliance initiatives in ways that enhance privacy protections for all Americans. The Initiative will provide invaluable guidance to the thousands of small businesses in the advertising space that comprise AAF’s grassroots network.”

A Strong Foundation for Ethical Leadership, Action and Implementation

Through this initiative, the three associations aim to provide a roadmap for policymakers and industry that benefits consumers and businesses alike.

At the DAA, we believe the work of the three organizational sponsors and a broad range of industry leaders will continue to develop next-generation standards and policies for our industry.

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