• Will California Put the Brakes on Data?

    The leader of the national advertisers’ group flagged a potential future headache for those who use consumer data to better target ads:  a populist pro-privacy proposal in bellwether California.

    Bob Liodice, Association of National Advertisers (ANA)

    Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, was the wrap-up keynoter on May 9 at the 2018 Geopath/OAAA OOH Media Conference & Expo in Austin, TX, sponsored by Geopath and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.  His wide-ranging speech didn’t dwell on privacy, but clearly national advertisers are concerned that California’s ballot initiative could hurt those who rely on data to help sell things.

    A group called Californians for Consumer Privacy filed petitions to put a restraint on access to consumer data (California Consumer Privacy Act) on the statewide ballot November 6, 2018.  Key provisions:

    • Consumers could block businesses from selling or disclosing personal information
    • Consumers could sue for breaches of consumers’ information

    The bill would impose new restrictions on sharing data, which would limit the availability for data for advertising purposes. It also would create ‘right to know’ and other obligations specific to individuals. If passed, the California initiative could inspire other states to limit use of data.

    Advertisers, retailers, and other businesses use data collected from consumers across multiple channels, including online and from devices, to communicate with and reach specific audiences.  Data used by out of home media companies is typically pseudonymized or aggregated.

    Alastair Mactaggart

    Who is funding the privacy initiative in California?

    Harvard-educated San Francisco-based housing developer Alastair Mactaggart has contributed $2 million+ to the ballot effort.

    “We live in the age of commercial surveillance,” says Mactaggart. “We believe you should have the right to know what information companies are collecting about you and your family. We believe you should have the right to tell companies not to sell that personal information.”

    Who is opposing the ballot measure?

    ATT, Comcast, Facebook, Google, and Verizon put in $200,000 each to support an opposition group called the Committee to Protect California Jobs.  In April, Facebook pulled out, saying it no longer would contribute to the effort. Verizon followed suit.

    What is fueling consumer angst about privacy?

    “The current global outrage over the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data issue represents enormous frustration with institutions that fall short on promises of protection and safeguards,” says ANA.

    Meanwhile, the European Union is tightening restrictions on data usage, effective May 25.

    Insider’s take:  thank you Bob Liodice of ANA for flagging this issue.  The impact of the California initiative on the billboard industry is unclear but you need to be watching what happens.  Insider encourages operators to read the ballot language, and learn more about the consumer mood in the wake of the Facebook hearings.


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