DMA: Industry Should Draft Any Future Voluntary Privacy Codes

Tells NTIA It Is In Best Position to Do So Since It Will Have to Apply Them

WASHINGTON — The Digital Marketing Association already has plenty of suggestions to improve the National Telecommunications & Information Administration's (NTIA) multi-stakeholder process for enforcing the Obama Administration's consumer privacy "bill of rights."

Those include letting industry create guidelines and giving individual companies the opportunity to participate or not without any pressure from the NTIA.

The NTIA is scheduled to hold a "lessons learned" meeting with those stakeholders on Thursday (Aug. 29) to help improve that process. In advance of that meeting, one of the stakeholders has written NTIA chief Lawrence Strickling on improving any future stakeholder meetings.

In the letter, DMA senior vice president of government affairs Jerry Cerasale provided a number of suggestions. They include the idea that industry stakeholders should draft any code they will have to consider adopting, with the multistakeholder meetings providing the opportunity for others, including public-advocacy groups, to comment on the draft and decide whether or not they will support them.

 The Consumer Federation of America has recommended a selection process for code drafters from the broader multi-stakeholder community, which would include public advocacy groups such as itself. In addition to nixing that idea, DMA also doesn't like the CFA's suggestion of hiring an outside party to facilitate or draft the code, and the DMA says industry should handle implementation testing.

Cerasale also said that industry players should have the same opportunity not to support the industry-drafted guidelines.

"[I]ndividual companies should have the opportunity at any time to decide whether they will adhere to the code," he wrote. "NTIA should not ask companies to take a public position at a specific time."

The CFA is no big fan of the multi-stakeholder process, saying in recommendations to the NTIA that it did not see how it could "produce meaningful and enforceable guidance on any privacy issue." But it suggested that in future meetings, if any are held, non-industry should have a larger role in in drafting the code and signing off on any testing.