May 22, 2009

Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – Government Affairs

AAF Opposes Massachusetts Behavioral Advertising Bill

AAF has joined a broad coalition of allies in writing to Massachusetts lawmakers to oppose legislation that would restrict the ability of marketers to target consumers online. HB 313 would impose overly stringent limitations on the ability to use non personal information to target advertising to consumers based on their presumed interests. The letter emphasizes the benefits to consumers of advertising supported content on the Internet and the ability to receive advertising that more closely matches their interests. The letter also discusses the industry’s self-regulatory principles.
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AAF Files Comments with FCC

The American Advertising Federation and allied associations have filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission on a notice of inquiry looking at whether advertisement should be subject to ratings and the v-chip technology. The comments argue against the idea as unnecessary, impractical and against congressional intent. The comments can be viewed here.
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Senate Committee Passes Tobacco Legislation

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has passed legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration jurisdiction to regulate the advertising and marketing of tobacco as well as the product itself. The bill would also direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to publish a rule banning all outdoor advertising for tobacco within 1,000 feet of any elementary or secondary school or playground and require all tobacco advertising be limited to black text on a white background except in magazines, newspapers or periodicals with readership of at least 85% adults. AAF opposes the advertising provisions of the bill as a violation of the First Amendment protections for commercial speech and has expressed that opposition to each member of the committee.
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FCC Seeking Public Comment on School Bus Programming

In the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission to issue a report regarding “commercial proposals for broadcasting radio or television programs for reception onboard specially-equipped school buses operated by, or under contact with, local public education agencies.” The Commission has issued a request for public comment. It has specifically asked for comment on the nature of material proposed for broadcast and its age appropriateness, the amount of advertising to be broadcast, and whether such broadcasts are in the public interest. The public notice can be found here.
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AAF Writes Commerce Secretary Regarding Internet

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is preparing to conclude its longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Commerce in September 2009. The Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is the principal supervisory body for ICANN. Absent the Department’s supervisory role there will be no way to hold ICANN accountable for governance decisions that might adversely affect the business community or other users and stakeholders in the Internet. Unfortunately, ICANN has made a number of proposals, including greatly increasing the number of generic Top Level Domains (the part of an Internet address to the right of the “dot”), that could greatly harm the business community and consumers. The AAF has joined a number of other organizations in writing to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke asking that the Department consider extending the memorandum and find a way to maintain continued involvement in the governance of the Internet. The letter can be found here.
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