July 9, 2008

Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President – Government Affairs
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Manager – Government Affairs

Senate Commerce Committee Holds Online Advertising Hearing

The Senate Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing examining the privacy implications of online advertising practices on the Internet. Online company representatives, privacy advocates and government officials detailed their efforts to ensure consumer privacy compliance. All witnesses agreed that self-regulation is important but not sufficient. The general agreement was that there should be a baseline privacy standard; however, the representatives acknowledged the difficulty in agreeing on one standard that is technology-neutral and allows for future innovation. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who chaired the hearing, said that online advertising is helpful and useful but added that he was concerned about the invisibility of online data protection. Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, highlighted the need for transparency and consumer control of behavioral tracking, noting that the FTC is continuing its work on self-regulatory guidelines but did not have a timetable for its completion. Dorgan indicated that he would hold additional hearings on the matter and encouraged Internet service provider representatives to testify.
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Florida Groups Prepare Tax Swap Opposition

Florida Senator Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, is leading a group opposed to the state's "tax swap" proposal, which would lower property taxes by about 25 percent in exchange for a sales tax increase and possible removal of tax deductibility on services, including advertising. The proposal, championed for years by former Senate President and current Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commissioner John McCay, is on the November ballot as Amendment 5. The group is planning an advertising campaign to highlight the problems a tax swap would cause the Florida economy. The AAF, AAF - District 4 and local ad clubs have worked to oppose the changes because of the damage any tax on advertising would cause the industry.
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AAF Holds Meet and Greet with Congressman Ed Towns, D-N.Y.

AAF members recently participated in a meet and greet with Congressman Ed Towns, D-N.Y. The event, held in New York City, allowed executives from agencies, media companies, law firms and other advertising professionals to discuss recent developments in advertising regulation with an influential member of Congress. Last summer, Congressman Towns led the effort to remove a proposed moratorium on new drug advertising from the Food and Drug Administration reauthorization bill, instead amending the bill to allow the FDA to fine companies for false or misleading advertising. AAF's next meet and greet will be with Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., in Washington, D.C.
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