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The ad complex is lobbying to stop the FCC from protecting your brower data and geo-location

The Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, the Data and Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and the Network Advertising Initiative have jointly submitted a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in an attempt to convince the FCC to reverse its recent decision to force Internet Service Providers to get people to opt-in to the sharing of “sensitive information … defined to include geo-location, children’s, health, and financial information, Social Security numbers, the content of communications, and, in contrast to the FTC’s long standing approach, all web browsing and app usage history information.”

So for clarity's sake, I’ll restate: the advertising complex, as outlined above, is petitioning the FCC to drop (or alter, I guess) these proposed changes. Instead of asking people for permission to collect any personal browsing information, the coalition would prefer they opt-out, and include everyone by default, until otherwise indicated. In fact, the coalition is asking the FCC to treat the information as "speech".

Why would the advertising industry prefer this approach?

According to the filing:

"This overreach by the FCC would result in consumers having to opt out repeatedly throughout the day as they browse the web or be overloaded with a constant drumbeat of opt-in choices. In either case, this will have severe negative impacts for the on-line and mobile experience, resulting in harm to consumers and threatening the financial underpinnings of the Internet ecosystem,” the ANA wrote in an earlier letter to its members.”

The constant bombardment by interstitials, false click generating designs, and the onslaught of shady content advertisements all used to collect that data on the daily?

Well, that’s fine, obviously. No “experience” problems there, despite evidence to the contrary.

Pot. Meet Kettle.

Advertising on the internet doesn’t have to rely on deep data tracking to survive. The sooner we wake up to that reality, the faster we can all take the step toward a more ethical advertising approach online.

In fact, it’s already happening.

Maybe this coalition should stop worrying so much about the FCC ruling, and start worrying a bit about the advertising experiences it’s delivering to people.

Maybe they should start explaining to the world’s publishers why they’re creating the majority of content for platforms, but they’re only walking away with 1 percent of the ad revenue.

Maybe it’s time we all wake up to the reality that these agencies don’t have people’s interests at heart. They may be “adding $202 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy and fueling more than 966,000 jobs in 2014,“ but they're not interested in changing the status quo. Opt-in could seriously alter those numbers.

It’s only a matter of time before privacy controls get embedded deeper into operating systems and browsers. The industry has proven time and again that it can't self-regulate. The sooner, the better. iOS already tackles a few major privacy infractions by requiring people to individually select whether an app has access to things like contacts, photos, or location. Browsers are already popping up with built-in privacy and ad block controls. ISPs in some countries are already considering blocking ads and data collection technologies at the network level. Half of our employees at BuySellAds (an advertising company) have ad blockers installed.

Sure, manually opting-in to things every time a website loads is tedious and less than ideal. The thing is, those systems are being refined. As it stands, it’s only a matter of time, 202 billion dollar industry or not. Privacy tools are here to stay, and no amount of lobbying will ever change that.

Joshua Schnell, BuySellAds.

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