On April 9, IAB Executive Vice President for Public Policy Dave Grimaldi testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on the use of big data to aid in the fight against the coronavirus. During his remarks, Mr. Grimaldi previewed the countless ways IAB member companies are giving back to their communities through this crisis. He also explained how a uniform federal privacy law would aid in future crisis by providing companies with clarity on the use of data for the public good. Highlights of IAB’s testimony include:
- The Advertising Industry is Playing an Important Role in the Fight Against COVID-19
Advertising supports dissemination of vital news and public health information as well as servicing millions who are reliant upon low cost and free services to maintain communications with family, friends, and day-to-day business operations. Never before in history has the open flow of data been more critical.
- Data Can Facilitate Powerful Responses to Contain the Virus
Data can help government agencies, hospitals, and other critical organizations better manage the dramatic increase in demand that they are currently experiencing. For example, businesses are making available artificial intelligence and natural language processing services to assist workers in fielding the large volume of calls, emails, and inquiries that they are receiving and efficiently prioritize the most urgent requests and information. And social media websites that have an understanding of social connections across different geographies can find aggregate trends to help researchers gain better insights about when and where the coronavirus might spread more quickly.
- IAB Members Have Long Supported Strong Consumer Privacy Protections
The IAB and its members have been at the forefront of promoting responsible data practices, and consumer trust is vital to our member companies’ ability to operate successfully in the marketplace. The success of a business is premised on having personalized relationships with millions of consumers at scale, and that is best achieved only when companies responsibly use the information gathered from consumers.
- This commitment to consumer trust, and recognition that data is essential for business success, is best exemplified through IAB’s integral role in the creation of the self-regulatory systems administrated by the DAA. The DAA is an industry body convened more than a decade ago to create a self-regulatory code for all companies that collect or use data for interest-based advertising online, based on practices recommended by the FTC in its 2009 report on online behavioral advertising.
- The Existing U.S. Privacy Framework Should Be Updated
While self-regulation has been a useful mechanism to encourage responsible data use, federal leadership is now needed to ensure that robust consumer privacy protections apply consistently throughout the country. The time is right for the creation of a new paradigm for data privacy in the United States.
- To this end, IAB is a key supporter of Privacy for America, a broad industry coalition of top trade organizations and companies representing a wide cross-section of the American economy that advocates for federal omnibus privacy legislation. Privacy for America has released a detailed policy framework to provide members of Congress with a new option to consider as they develop data privacy legislation for the United States.
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