September 25, 2003

Legislative Activity

September 25, 2003

The Honorable Gray Davis
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Davis:

On behalf of the members of the American Advertising Federation I respectfully request your veto of Senate Bill 590, a deeply flawed measure intended to protect consumer privacy. In fact, the bill, if enacted, would harm both consumers and business.

As the "Unifying Voice for Advertising," the American Advertising Federation (AAF), headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a Western Region office in Newport Beach, Calif., is the trade association that represents 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry. AAF's 130 corporate members are advertisers, agencies and media companies that comprise the nation's leading brands and corporations. AAF has a national network of 210 ad clubs, including eleven in California, and connects the industry with an academic base through its 210 college chapters.

By imposing a January 1, 2004 implementation date, S.B. 590 places an unrealistic burden on business to comply in such a short time frame.

S.B. 590 would place unprecedented restrictions on requests for or collection of information during a transaction. It would prevent non-financial services companies from collecting, or even requesting, information during a transaction. It would also regulate information that is not personally identifiable, but merely "capable of being associated with" an individual even if it never become personally identifiable. These sweeping restrictions are radical departures from American privacy law.

S.B. 590 would actually reduce consumer choice. Instead of giving Californian consumers an opportunity to decide what personal information they would like to provide during a transaction, the bill makes the choice for them.

S.B. 590 discriminates against certain industries. It exempts financial services companies from its burdensome request and collection restrictions, and disproportionately burdens e-commerce companies by providing a special presumption of compliance for brick and mortar retailers.

Because of these and other flaws with the legislation, I urge you to veto S.B. 590.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Bruce Mayo
Senior Vice President-Western Region Services