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The Rundown: What you ought to find out about the FTCs latest privacy crackdown

The marketing industry and its own industrial-scale usage of audience data, means it does not have any shortage of detractors with concerns for this leading to it, and the ad tech sector specifically, being placed on notice recently.

The other day the charges of commercial surveillance and lax data security were leveled against those whose main stock in trade is internet-user information by the Federal Trade Commission which includes unfurled an initiative to tackle these woes.

Observers may think, Havent we seen this movie before? however with proposals like the American Data Privacy And Protection Act (ADPPA) under discussion by U.S. lawmakers this type of shot on the bow must be heeded.

First, a recap

The FTC is seeking comment from informed parties on an array of concerns like the endless hoovering up of user data and potentially unlawful practices in accordance with committee chair Lina M. Khan. Specifically, the body really wants to know just where it has fallen short previously, and just how did it future-proof its requirements, an essential goal because the U.S. economy becomes increasingly digitized. Because they build a robust public record of comments from the general public, she said the FTC will undoubtedly be better informed with regards to deciding what any new rules should entail.

The agency also hopes to raised know how companies monetize private information and how deceptive design or marketing tactics are accustomed to influence or coerce consumers into choices they might otherwise not make. In addition, it plans to look at how digital tools impact children and how companies use data to retaliate against customers.

The FTC for several years, over 2 decades now, has really been on leading lines of using our existing enforcement tools to combat privacy violations and data security breaches, Khan said the other day throughout a press conference. Weve seen given that the growing and continuing digitization of our economy implies that a few of these practices will undoubtedly be prevalent and that case-by-case enforcement may neglect to adequately deter law-breaking or remedy the resulting harms.

The commission voted 3-2 to create the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) with the window for comment submission closing 60 days following the notice is published.

The FTC probe shall cover a variety of aspects of precisely how the digital economy operates. Regions of concern include companies consumer consent policies, disclosure of data collection practices to the general public and the expense of potential remedies. Here are some excerpts questions and topics the FTC is seeking public comment about that operators in the ad-supported media industry should remember.

  • From what extent, if, should new rules limit targeted advertising along with other commercial surveillance practices beyond the limitations already imposed by civil rights laws?
  • What alternative advertising practices can companies turn to if new rules prohibit the status quo?
  • How cost-effective is contextual advertising in comparison with targeted advertising?
  • From what extent, if, should new trade regulation rules impose limitations on companies collection, use, and retention of consumer data?
  • From what extent if the FTC require companies to create public their commercial surveillance practices?
  • How often, if, if the FTC require self-reporting, third-party audits or assessments of these commercial surveillance practices?

So, what now?

The ANPR carries a September 8 forum where members of the general public can share their views on whether new rules are essential to safeguard the publics privacy and information in a virtual event.

The agencys lengthy rule-making process provides agency ample time and energy to reassess plans predicated on any developments in Congress, Khan said while noting that public feedback may also inform federal online privacy policy beyond the agency itself.

The FTCs procedure for rule-making is in no way short. If the FTC moves forward following the public comment period, it could need to give Congress a 30-day notice before publishing a proposal which is followed by yet another public notice and comment period accompanied by informal hearings. Before developing any final rules, the FTC would also conduct a regulatory analysis and would have to publish any updated regulations 30 days before each goes into effect. Only then would the agency have the ability to begin enforcement against anyone who violates the regulations with actual knowledge or knowledge fairly implied.

Mark Pearlstein, CRO at Permutive, noted the way the latest developments further telegraph the way the industry must come out of its safe place. He added: If Big Tech is reluctant to place customer privacy first, as weve seen with Googles delays in third-party cookie deprecation, does the FTC genuinely have a selection?

During last weeks press conference, FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said the agency includes a duty under existing law to handle unlawful behavior. However, she added that any new rules the FTC approves will be complementary, no alternative, to new Congressional legislation. (FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya also remarked that he wont vote for just about any rules that overlap with the ADDPA.)

Opening an archive like this is essential for the FTC showing which were no more shying from using all of the tools we’ve open to deter unlawful conduct on the market, Kelly Slaughter said.

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