IAB Warns Against Rushed Passage of Children’s Privacy Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is urging Congress to drop a late addition to a year-end spending package.

IAB’s Executive Vice President for Public Policy Lartease Tiffith says the trade association – representing over 700 brands, publishers, agencies, ad tech firms and more across the digital advertising industry – supports children’s privacy, but including significant changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in a hurried “omnibus” spending bill risks unintended consequences for internet users of all ages.

“IAB steadfastly supports children’s privacy protections and is working with legislators and regulators to improve COPPA,” said Tiffith. “We help our members comply with the law. But the industry has had very little time to review this last-minute bill Congress is rushing to pass in a few days.”

“What we do know is that broad definitions of targeted advertising could capture contextual advertising as well,” said Tiffith. “A change to the ‘actual knowledge’ standard means that to protect themselves from regulatory problems, many companies would erect barriers to prevent children from accessing any content at all.”

Age-gating and paywalls would increase, he said. “Policymakers need to understand that digital advertising subsidizes safe, free content helping kids to learn, play and communicate. Those least able to afford the extra cost would pay more for online products and services, if they could afford them at all.”

He called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and future House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to consider the effects on their home state, a digital advertising hub. According to IAB research, the ad-supported internet created nearly a half million jobs in New York in 2020. The research shows almost half of all advertising jobs are data-driven, digital-dependent jobs.

“The effects of a hasty, poorly considered children’s privacy law would be widespread. Small businesses are unprepared. Americans would encounter a much less user-friendly internet. With current House leadership opposed to COPPA 2.0, we are urging federal elected representatives to reject it and partner with us to improve the bill,” said Tiffith, who cited similar bills such as the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) as flawed.

Tiffith recently spoke at a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) event to discuss children’s online privacy issues.

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