NetChoice Raises Concerns with FTC Decree Against YouTube for Alleged COPPA Violations

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about the FTC’s announcement that they plan to fine YouTube for alleged COPPA violations.

“Congress created COPPA with clear guardrails — today the FTC broke through them,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel of NetChoice. “This action puts all general audience sites on unsure footing. Is Angry Birds now subject to COPPA? What about CandyCrush or Marvel comics?” 

“The FTC has transformed COPPA from objective principles to subjective punishment for virtually any website – whether child-directed or not.”

In its decision, the FTC greatly expanded the existing subjective COPPA standard to general audience websites even when users sign a contract saying they are over 13.

“This decree will slash the advertising revenue that supports video creators producing high-quality child-friendly content. This means far fewer ad dollars to support videos that my teenager watches to learn about nutrition, sports instruction, and science projects,” said NetChoice President Steve DelBianco.

Unpopular Internet Policies Could Cost Democrats the White House

NetChoice Medium

The 2020 election will be tight and every vote counts. So it’s surprising to see Democratic candidates making calls to regulate free speech and online platforms — policy proposals that Americans overwhelmingly oppose, and policies that could cost Democrats the White House.

This year some Democrats are calling to make it harder for online services to host our comments and pictures. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has even gone so far as to say that America’s most successful tech companies should be broken up.

Read more…

Facebook faces record $5bn fine

The Bangkok Post

The tech industry group NetChoice praised the fine, saying it would motivate companies to improve their privacy practices.

Democrats Scoff at Facebook Fine

Politico Morning Tech

DEMS: $5B FACEBOOK FINE NOT CUTTING IT — Fans of the $5 billion FTC settlement with Facebook leaked late Friday are striving to present it as a wise and just punishment; the trade association NetChoice, which counts Facebook as a member, tried to spread the hashtag “#ThatsGonnaLeaveAMark.” But the settlement in the privacy and data-handling probe, sparked by the revelations over Cambridge Analytica, seems to have only inflamed some company critics.

NetChoice Supports Facebook and FTC Settlement

Today, NetChoice voiced support for the FTC and Facebook’s settlement, for which Facebook will be fined $5 billion. This breaks the record for privacy-related fines and is about 100 times larger than last year’s EU’s fine for Google.

“The FTC’s Facebook fine is the largest ever, by a huge margin,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel at NetChoice. “Yet we are already hearing anti-tech critics claim that the fine is not enough. “

“The FTC’s Facebook fine is unprecedented and will undoubtedly motivate better privacy practices by all businesses. The FTC commissioners should enjoy their weekend, #ThatsGonnaLeaveAMark”

The Importance of Balancing Privacy with Innovation, Consumer Benefits, and Other Rights in the FTC’s Approach to Consumer Data Privacy

Mercatus Center

These preferences can vary dramatically, and most Americans do not find themselves trapped by the data-driven websites; they choose to participate because they find those services beneficial. According to Zogby polling data conducted for NetChoice, 42 percent prefer targeted ads based on data collection to nontargeted ads. Americans also find themselves willing and able to leave platforms they no longer find beneficial, with 43 percent of participants in the same survey saying they had left a social media platform at some point. While only a small percentage chose to leave because of changes in a privacy policy, consumers nonetheless make choices when it comes to data-driven services.

Do Not Track is back in the US Senate. And this time it means business. As in, fining businesses that stalk you online

The Register

 NetChoice represents most of Big Tech in Washington DC – including Google, Facebook and Twitter – and said the proposed law would “harm consumers and competition.”

“By preventing the use of interest-based ads, this bill will result in more ads, more paywalls, and less content,” the lobbying group said in a statement on Monday. “Senator Hawley’s bill undermines small online businesses trying to compete with large incumbents by preventing them from making the most from their smaller user base.”

It concludes that the bill “doesn’t give users more rights over their data, it gives users the right to use online platforms without paying for them.”

The Do Not Track Act Would Harm the Digital Marketplace

Today, Sen. Hawley announced the introduction of the “Do Not Track Act.” The bill claims to give consumers the right to use online services without allowing those services to use interest-based advertising.

“This bill harms consumers and competition,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “By preventing the use of interest-based ads, this bill will result in more ads, more paywalls, and less content.”

“Sen. Hawley’s bill undermines small online businesses trying to compete with large incumbents by preventing them from making the most from their smaller user base. This bill most helps large businesses with trusted names while kneecapping future competitors.”

“Sen. Hawley’s bill doesn’t give users more rights over their data, it gives users the right to use online platforms without paying for them.”

America’s GDPR

The Margins

Meanwhile, actual tech industry lobby groups are pushing federal legislation along the same lines as that proposed by the tech-funded think tanks. One of the largest lobbying groups for Silicon Valley, NetChoice, has rallied behind Sen. Marco Rubio’s, R-Fla., privacy bill. His bill would roll back state regulation and place enforcement authority largely under the Federal Trade Commission, a notoriously toothless federal agency with no rule-making power, instead of letting consumers directly sue tech companies under the law.