July 23, 2010


New Privacy Bill Introduced

Congressman Bobby Rush, D-Ill., has introduced new privacy legislation (H.R. 5777) that would address both the online and offline collection of customer data by companies. Congressman Rush is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. The legislation would require companies to disclose to consumers how their information is being used. It would also require companies to notify a consumer every time their personal data is disclosed to a third party. Customers must “opt-in” before companies are permitted to share personal information. The Federal Trade Commission would be tasked with regulating how companies comply with the law. The bill would also create a safe harbor program at the FTC for companies that self-regulate. If a company were to voluntarily follow the new privacy policy, it would no longer be required to obtain user consent before sharing their information.

Financial Reform Becomes Law

President Barack Obama has signed into law the controversial financial reform legislation. As previously reported, the law does not include the expansion of Federal Trade Commission rulemaking authority opposed by the AAF and many other groups.

Telecommunication Policy Conference and Minority Tax Certificates

Republican Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Robert McDowell has recommended that Congress reinstate the minority tax certificate program. The program was dissolved fifteen years ago amid allegations of abuse. In the late 70s the program was used as a tax incentive for companies who sold assets to minority-owned companies. Republican FCC regulator Meredith Attwell Baker suggested that the minority sector of this industry is geared towards developing software and that “it will be a $30 billion industry by 2013.”

Congress Given More Freedom Online

The House Administration Committee recently passed a resolution giving members Congress more freedom to advertise online. In addition to being able to promote government websites and constituent services on social media sites, members of the House are able to use online ads to build a database of email contacts. The resolution imposed a number of restrictions on advertising, including a requirement that ads be directed to specific constituents (small geographic areas) and a continuation of the August blackout of campaign advertising. In addition, advertising may not promote third party sites, and they may not discuss approaching votes or specific policy positions.

Freedom for Consumer Choice Act (FCC Act)

Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina proposed the Freedom for Consumer Choice Act to Congress on Wednesday with the support of a number of Senators from the Midwest. The bill would require the FCC to provide evidence that consumers do not have substantial choice before it may implement net neutrality regulations.

Dingell Chides Chairman Genachowski

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Representative John Dingell, D-Mich., expressed frustration that the chairman has not responded to an earlier letter asking about his plan to extend the Commission’s authority over broadband service providers. Rep. Dingell expressed concerns about the plan but said that “Chairman Genachowski’s responses to my questions would be invaluable in informing the debate on the matter.”

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The AAF protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities. Our nation-wide network monitors advertising-related legislation on local, state and federal levels. We put our members face-to-face with influential lawmakers while encouraging self-regulation as a preemptor to government intervention, when appropriate of course. To learn more about our advocacy efforts, click here.