“Surveillance” is a crammed term, but its on the lips of regulators who are working to restrict targeted advertising online on both sides of the Atlantic.
On Tuesday, Democratic legislators in the United States led by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), presented the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act (BSAA), which would outright prohibit marketers from targeting ads to consumers with a couple of exceptions, including contextual targeting or broad-based geotargeting.
This isnt Eshoos first rodeo. Eshoo, who represents Californias 18th Congressional District– the heart of Silicon Valley– was also a co-sponsor of the Online Privacy Act, a now-stalled bill presented in 2019 that would require specific authorization to reveal or offer personal details and would have produced GDPR-inspired user information rights.
Unsurprisingly, the advertisement market isnt a fan of the BSAA. (” This horrible expense would disenfranchise companies that promote on the Internet,” IAB CEO David Cohen declared in a statement).
Over in Brussels late on Wednesday, European legislators voted to support modifications that would significantly limit behavioral marketing as part of the Digital Services Act (DSA), a piece of proposed legislation looking to take on harmful content online and make platforms responsible for algorithmic circulation.
IAB Europe argues that the DSA might weaken existing consumer laws, consisting of the General Data Protection Regulation, in big part since it overlaps with them.
However back in the United States, although its unlikely that a federal privacy law will pass this year, the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act might be another not-so-baby action toward an eventual national personal privacy law. The question is, how rigorous will that law be when it finally arrives?
We polled the industry: The headwinds seem to be blowing, but is it even useful– or technically feasible– to straight-out ban targeted marketing?
Alison Pepper, EVP of government relations, 4As.
Lartease Tiffith, EVP of public policy, IAB.
Stephanie Vandenberg, SVP of profits, Verve Group.
Stephanie Klimazewski, SVP of marketing, Aki Technologies.
Michele Szabocsik, VP of marketing, BlueConic.

The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act appears to be running on a parallel track to the recent petition to the Federal Trade Commission to begin rulemaking on security advertising. Its definitely impractical and, if passed, would make the usage of data for marketing illegal. The compliance cost and complexity if left unabated will substantially hinder the thousands of mid-sized and little organizations that rely upon data-driven marketing for their incomes. It would be really similar to how digital advertising was provided in the early 2000s– mainly IP-based geotargeting and targeting based on the content a user is seeing as a proxy for their demographics and interests.
Unlike GDPR, which requires companies to acquire specific permission in order to use a persons individual information for marketing functions, this legislation intends to outright restriction it.

Alison Pepper, EVP of government relations, 4As.
The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act appears to be working on a parallel track to the recent petition to the Federal Trade Commission to begin rulemaking on security marketing. Liable Tech [ the advocacy group that authored the FTC petition] is also one of the main supporters of the legislation.
The distinction in between the petition to the FTC, which is currently seeking public remarks, and the proposed legislation seems to be that the latter provides very specific meanings of targeted advertising. Remarkably, the legal title calls it “monitoring” advertising, but the actual definitions in the text default to the more pedestrian “targeted” advertising.
Definitions matter– due to the fact that these are broad. The legislation supplies that a marketer might not “target the dissemination of an advertisement,” and the meaning of “target” consists of not simply prohibitions on one-to-one targeting however likewise “a group of people.” That definition would probably render moot a lot of the existing privacy-protecting options being developed by the market.
Lartease Tiffith, EVP, public law, IAB.
The concern isnt whether it is technically practical. Its absolutely impractical and, if passed, would make the usage of information for advertising illegal. It would set the direct marketing business back a century and digital marketing back to the early 1990s.
IAB is actively informing and lobbying in Washington, DC, on many concerns, including personal privacy and the responsible use of data for marketing. Were squarely concentrated on making sure that the unexpected effects of bad legislation are not recognized.
National personal privacy reform has actually taken a back seat to other concerns in DC and, as we know, private states are moving forward with their own personal privacy laws. The compliance expense and intricacy if left unabated will significantly impede the countless mid-sized and little services that rely upon data-driven advertising for their livelihoods. This can not continue– we require a federal personal privacy law.
Stephanie Vandenberg, SVP of income, Verve Group.
Weve seen many bills presented in this area over the years. Few have actually even made it to committee factor to consider.
This could be another example of all bark and no actual bite. Just like others weve seen, this costs takes a sledgehammer to a job much better matched for a carvers tool. The bottom line is we must permit consumers to make educated options, comparable to GDPR as it has actually progressed. Lets simply say its not well analyzed.
Stephanie Klimazewski, SVP of marketing, Aki Technologies.
This expense is very, extremely broad and unlikely to be passed in its present kind. Additionally, this bill in its present type does not restrict targeting based upon the material a user is seeing or the broad city where an advertisement is delivered.
That said, to more directly respond to the question, it is possible to [ban targeted advertising] It would be extremely comparable to how digital marketing was provided in the early 2000s– mainly IP-based geotargeting and targeting based on the material a user is deeming a proxy for their interests and demographics.
So, it is entirely possible, but it would also entirely upend the supremacy of data-driven gamers like Facebook and Google. It might be a great method to break up the duopolys dominance.
Michele Szabocsik, VP of marketing, BlueConic.
The BSAA may be appropriately rooted in rising customer expectations for personal privacy and a significantly unpalatable searching experience thanks to marketing overload. However its a broad-strokes and excessive technique to solving the problem. Unlike GDPR, which needs business to gain explicit permission in order to use a persons personal data for marketing functions, this legislation plans to outright ban it.
A more well balanced legal method would put the onus on advertisers, publishers and ad tech business to clean up their acts. This implies needing advertisers and publishers to do three things: be transparent about how they utilize the data they collect, clearly request permission to utilize it and provide ad experiences that in fact offer worth to the consumer.
The next generation of customers– Gen Zers– care about corporate social responsibility, however they are likewise tech savvy. They comprehend that when business really deliver on their pledge of value in exchange for data, customers benefit. They also rightfully desire transparency and control over what information is exchanged.
When business are held responsible to these greater requirements of trust and transparency, its a win-win for services and customers alike.
Answers have been gently modified and condensed.

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