Beltway Battle Could Have Implications for Do-Not-Track

  |  December 7, 2010   |  Comments

A battle over leadership of a key U.S. House committee is bound to have implications for online advertisers.

A battle over leadership of a key U.S. House committee that's been brewing since the November elections should be decided this week, and is bound to have implications for online advertisers. At stake is the chairmanship of the important House Energy and Commerce committee, home to a privacy bill introduced earlier this year, and to lawmakers with a keen interest in online behavioral advertising and related online privacy issues including do-not-track.

Among those who have thrown their hats in the ring is Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, a co-chairman of the House Privacy Caucus who has expressed an interest in online privacy issues. Recently, Barton and another co-chair of the caucus sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg inquiring about an alleged privacy breach; the letter asked the company to respond to a series of privacy-related questions.

"In the next Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee and our subcommittees are going to put Internet privacy policies in the crosshairs," stated Barton in a House Energy and Commerce Republicans press release after Facebook submitted its responses to the inquiry. "I want the Internet economy to prosper, but it can't unless the people's right to privacy means more than a right to hear excuses after the damage is done,” he said.

According to a spokesperson representing the committee's Republicans, a vote on the chairmanship is expected to take place today. The committee leadership changeover comes as a result of the Republican win of the House in November.

According to reports, Rep. Michele Bachmann, a tea party Republican from Minnesota, has endorsed Barton for the chairmanship.

Close watchers of the committee leadership race suggest that Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan has a better chance of scoring the prized position than Barton. Another candidate, Cliff Stearns of Florida, is the only one directly attached to any form of privacy legislation. In May, Stearns co-sponsored a highly-anticipated draft privacy bill along with Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia. That draft, not officially introduced as a bill, was poorly received by privacy advocates and industry interests. Stearns was endorsed for the chairmanship by The Republican Business Council.

Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois is also in the running for the chairmanship, according to reports. No matter what the outcome, it appears that the Interactive Advertising Bureau has hedged its bets, if its Political Action Committee donations are any indication. The committees of Upton, Stearns, and Shimkus have been recipients of IAB PAC donations since 2009, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

While much legislator interest in online advertising and data privacy, including a pending privacy bill sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush, has originated in the commerce committee, it is unclear how much attention the committee will pay to privacy issues during the next congressional session. Barton, for example, has indicated that healthcare, and oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Communications Commission will be prominent issues to tackle if he is chosen to lead.

The Rush bill could still have momentum. Last week, the House Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the feasibility of a do-not-track mechanism for the Web.

"Privacy groups believe that there will be strong bipartisan support in the new Congress for legislation protecting consumers," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a group that advocates for consumer privacy in digital media. "It will be one of the few bipartisan issues that pass scrutiny. As pressure builds to protect consumer data online, including health, financial, teen-related and other personal data, a coalition of unusual allies will emerge," he predicted.

When asked whether he has a preference for who wins the chairmanship, Chester answered, "No. We are going to work with the House leadership, regardless of who is named today."

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Lead Generation Specialist
      Lead Generation Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead-generation...
    • Health Marketing Editor
      Health Marketing Editor (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreCome flex your intellectual muscle as part of Agora, Inc’s (http://agora-inc.com/) legal team...
    • Technical Business Analyst
      Technical Business Analyst (OmniVista Health) - BaltimoreOmniVista Health is looking to add a Technical Business Analyst to our expanding team...