Legislative Positions
Comments:

OPA Supports NTIA Code for Mobile App Transparency

On Thursday, July 25, the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) convened the final meeting of a group of industry and consumer group stakeholders engaged in developing a voluntary code of conduct for mobile app transparency.  The group reached near unanimous agreement to close out debate over the draft and move to user testing and implementation by industry.  After the meeting, OPA released the following statement:

OPA Supports NTIA Code for Mobile App Transparency

“OPA strongly supports the need for App providers to be transparent about their practices on the collection and use of their user's data. We support the NTIA ‘Code Of Conduct To Promote Transparency In Mobile App Practices Through Short Form Notices’ as it provides important guidance to app developers and providers as they design and implement their privacy regime."

Comments:

OPA Letter to FTC re: Proposed COPPA Rules (9-24-12)

On September 24, the OPA submitted a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that details our concerns regarding the agency’s new proposed rules for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

OPA Letter to FTC re: Proposed COPPA Rules

The Online Publishers Association (“OPA”) appreciates the opportunity to provide further comments on the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule” or the “Rule”).1 OPA is a trade association dedicated to representing trusted online content providers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. We are the only trade association focused exclusively on the digital content business and its unique role in the future of media. Our members include many of the Internet’s most respected online publishing brands and they collectively reach an unduplicated audience of 221.2 million unique visitors per month, which represents 100% of the U.S. online population.2

Although several OPA members operate age-appropriate Websites that are specially designed for children, most operate sites directed to a general audience. As further explained in our comment letter dated December 21, 2011, OPA respects and shares the Commission’s goal of enabling children to enjoy the Internet in a safe environment. At the same time, we believe that privacy regulations must be carefully tailored to avoid unintended consequences that could limit our members’ ability to provide a rich, high-quality online experience to consumers of all ages.

To help advance the Commission’s goal of strengthening online privacy protections for children while preserving a vibrant market for online content, we offer the following comments in response to the Supplemental Notice. We also incorporate by reference our previous comments in this proceeding, as many of the points raised in our original letter remain relevant.

1 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Federal Trade Commission, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, 77 Fed. Reg. 46443 (Aug 1, 2012), available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2011/09/110915coppa.pdf (“Supplemental Notice”).
2 comScore Media Metrix, January 2012.

OPA Letter to FTC re: Proposed COPPA Rules 9-24-12 | PDF
Comments:

Pam Horan to Testifes Before House Energy and Commerce Committee

Pam Horan testifed on March 29 before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.  The subcommittee is held the hearing to discuss the Department of Commerce’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and the Federal Trade Commission’s Privacy Paper.

Pam Horan to Testify Before House Energy and Commerce Committee

The topic of the four hour hearing was, “Balancing Privacy and Innovation: Does the President's Proposal Tip the Scale?”. Pam testified about the distinction between first and third party relationships online, and the privacy protections that OPA members provide users of their sites. She expressed support for several provisions in the Administration’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and also noted some shortcomings. The hearing provided a robust discussion of the merits and shortcomings of the recently-released privacy reports from the White House and the FTC.

  • Written Statement | PDF
Comments:

OPA Letter to FTC re: Proposed COPPA Rules

On December 21st, the OPA submitted a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that details our concerns regarding the agency’s new proposed rules for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

OPA Letter to FTC re: Proposed COPPA Rules

The Online Publishers Association (“OPA”) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule” or the “Rule”). OPA is a trade association dedicated to representing trusted online content providers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. We are the only trade association focused exclusively on the digital content business and its unique role in the future of media. Our members include many of the Internet’s most respected online publishing brands and they collectively reach an unduplicated audience of 179.400 million unique visitors or 81% reach of the U.S. online population.

Although several OPA members operate age-appropriate Websites that are specially designed for children, the majority operate sites directed to a general audience. Our members provide invaluable services to the public at a time in which the average American adult now relies on the Internet for their news, information and entertainment.

OPA Letter to FTC re: Proposed COPPA Rules | PDF
Comments:

OPA Comments on FTC Report: “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Frame

On February 17th, the OPA offered it’s support of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers”

OPA Comments on FTC Report: “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Frame

OPA applauds the Staff's thoughtful approach to the issues discussed in the Preliminary Report, and especially appreciates the Staff's recognition that many uses of audience data are essential to delivering a quality web experience to consumers and should be excluded from the choice requirements of the proposed privacy framework. OPA also appreciates the Staff's recognition that consumers hold different expectations of privacy with respect to information collection in the context of a direct first-party relationship with a website publisher than they do with respect to information collection by third parties in the online ecosystem.

OPA hopes that the framework proposed by the Staff will be used to inform further efforts to develop and strengthen self-regulatory principles and will not be perceived as an implicit call for prescriptive legislation. OPA strongly believes that self-regulatory principles and voluntary codes of conduct are the most scalable, flexible, and effective means of advancing consumer privacy interests while preserving opportunities for online innovation and economic development in an industry that is vital to the public interest. OPA offered five observations from the perspective of the online publishing industry.

  • OPA Final Comments for FTC on Privacy Framework | PDF
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OPA Comments on DOC Privacy Green Paper

On January 28, 2011, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) offered its support for the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force Privacy Green Paper, “Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework. “.

OPA Comments on Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force Privacy Green Paper

OPA applauds the Task Force’s emphasis on formulating policies that will advance consumer privacy interests while preserving opportunities for online innovation and economic development. OPA agrees that voluntary codes of conduct are the most scalable, transparent, and flexible means of furthering these important goals. OPA also endorses the Green Paper’s recommendation to create a Privacy Policy Office within the Commerce Department to coordinate multi-stakeholder discussions on privacy policy and spur the development of voluntary codes. OPA recommended to the DOC five specific proposals that should be included in their final report.

  • View OPA comments on DOC Privacy Green Paper | PDF
Comments:

Statement from OPA regarding the FTC’s Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising

In the ongoing discussion about consumer privacy and online advertising, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) is pleased that in the updated Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising released today, the FTC recognized that “first party” and contextual advertising do not belong within the definition of behavioral targeting. The OPA will continue to evaluate the updated Principles in order to determine appropriate next steps for the online publishing industry. We look forward to working with the commission and other industry groups to ensure that the consumer gets the best experience online.

Comments:

OPA Comments on FTC Behavioral Advertising Principles

On April 11th, 2008, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) offered its support for the Federal Trade Commission’s goals of promoting self regulation of online advertising and improving consumer awareness of behavioral advertising practices. In addition, OPA emphasized that overbroad restrictions on behavioral advertising could jeopardize publishers’ ability to create and deliver high quality and free content on the Web. OPA recommended to the FTC a modified definition of behavioral advertising that focuses on the collection and use of personally-identifiable information, as opposed to data collected from website visitors on an anonymous basis.

  • View the complete comments submitted by OPA President Pam Horan | PDF
  • View letter from Nina Link, President and CEO of the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA), filed in support of the OPA comments |PDF
  • View Full Press Release
Comments:

FTC “Behavioral Advertising: Tracking, Targeting and Technology” Town Hall

The Online Publishers Association (OPA) participated in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Town Hall meeting on behavioral advertising online. OPA President Pam Horan, who took part in a panel discussion regarding the business and technology of online advertising issued the following statement:

Comments on FTC “Behavioral Advertising: Tracking, Targeting and Technology” Town Hall

“Any discussion of online advertising must begin with an understanding of the critical role it plays in the publishing business and the tremendous value online publishers provide to American consumers.

“Online advertising allows OPA members to provide quality, free content to consumers globally. Online business practices, such as site usage tracking and content and behavioral targeting make this advertising particularly effective and significantly more valuable to consumers. Ultimately, these advertising tools make it possible for vast amounts of content to be available at no charge to the Web’s 148 million U.S. consumers.*

“Without online advertising and the tools that ensure its effectiveness, publishers simply wouldn’t be able to provide consumers with so much useful, desirable and free content. In fact, consumers have shown an understanding and appreciation for the relationship between ads and online content. As an example, the OPA recently found that more than half of online video viewers say they actually prefer watching ads in exchange for not having to pay for video content. And they want publishers to deliver ads that are relevant to their online experience – 56 percent of consumers prefer ads that relate to the video content they are viewing.

“The tools that make advertising an effective business model are the same tools that ensure that consumers’ online experiences are tailored to meet their needs. These are not only things that make the Web experience incredibly valuable; they are things that consumers have come to expect.

“It’s important to note that the quality content providers that make up the OPA hold themselves to the highest standards of editorial quality, integrity, and accountability. Throughout OPA Member companies, privacy and user data security are of the utmost importance. All OPA Members post privacy policies on their sites that address the collection and use of data, and any user that is affected by material changes to these policies is notified by email.”

* At home audience; Nielsen NetRatings, August 2007