Do Not Track legislation is poised to make a big comeback this Congress, and marketers who managed to hold it off for the past two years are taking nothing for granted. Ahead of a Senate Commerce hearing planned before month’s end, groups are stepping up their lobbying to block Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s reintroduced Do Not Track Online Act, which would give consumers the online equivalent of a Do Not Call option with the click of a mouse.
There’s a lot at stake for marketers who worry that if made law, it would undermine the two-year-old self-regulation program, Ad Choices, which gives consumers a way to opt-out of targeted ads.
“This is a clarion call. It’s time for marketers to think clearly about what this [law] would mean for their business,” said Rachel Thomas, vp, government affairs for the Direct Marketing Association, which launched two letter-writing campaigns. Thomas added that the DMA and its partners in the Digital Advertising Alliance have already had “more meetings than I can count” with lawmakers. A committee staffer confirmed that visits have been picking up.
Rockefeller will be a tough nut to crack. He’s not running for re-election and has nothing to lose by making consumer privacy part of his lasting legacy in Congress. “He will push harder,” predicted Dan Jaffe, evp of the Association of National Advertisers. “He has clout and strong views. This is pivotal for self-regulation.”