The administration and Congress must fix the confusing and costly rules that govern internet privacy. Consumers deserve to know what information about their online behavior is being tracked, and businesses, especially small and diverse firms, need affordable and well-targeted online advertising to find new customers to survive and grow.
Unfortunately, the rules of the road for online privacy right now are anything but clear, establishing a patchwork of inconsistent privacy requirements for different parts of the internet and leaving everyone who uses the internet — and especially older internet users and non-native English speakers — confused.
For businesses that depend on affordable access to online advertising, the regulations dramatically narrowed options and favored incumbents, driving up prices and making it hard for niche services in minority communities to survive.
That is why a coalition of diverse chambers of commerce representing Hispanic, African-American, gay and lesbian, Asian and Pacific Islander American businesses recently wrote Congress to warn, “This approach is not sustainable.”
Congress and the FCC should withdraw these flawed and costly rules and create a consistent evenhanded regime to protect consumer’s privacy online while allowing competitive online advertising markets to thrive.
In the meantime, consumers will still be protected by the substantive privacy requirements of the Federal Communications Act, which the FCC has committed to vigorously enforce while it reconsiders its approach. And virtually all major internet companies have committed to best practices and principles to protect consumer data.
Javier Palomarez, president and CEO, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.