In the debate over federal privacy legislation, advertising and marketing loom large. Social psychologist Shoshana Zuboff coined the term “surveillance capitalism” to describe the advertising business model as built on monetizing the collection, use, and sharing of digital information and testified to a House committee that the model is “founded on the premise that privacy must fall.” Her concept has been echoed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in their privacy rulemaking notice last August, which framed its inquiry as about “commercial surveillance.”
Regardless of how it is characterized, digital advertising is a significant factor in the unbounded spread of personal information. Under the status quo, most companies can set the rules for what data they collect and what they do with it. Without boundaries around the collection, use, and sharing of personal data, the complex systems that support digital advertising have become online tornadoes, rapidly sucking up data and spreading it across the landscape. The American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), a House bill reported out of committee by a 53-2 vote, goes further than any other comprehensive privacy bill proposed or enacted to put objective boundaries around the collection, use, and sharing of personal information and to change digital advertising practices.