House Subcommittee Takes Up Targeted Digital Advertising

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The House Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee drilled down on targeted digital advertising. Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) said the idea behind the hearing was to look at the benefits as well as the "emerging, high-profile challenges" of digital advertising, including the Russian election influence ads that have drawn calls, and some action, for better identifying who is placing those digital ads. The use of the word "challenges" was telling. Other legislators have labeled them "scandals" or "problems" in need of government fixes. Subcommittee 

Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) was less sanguine about the online ad experience, talking about ads being annoyed and being tracked online. She said most Americans don't like to be tracked and want more control over their information. She talked about consumers being tracked wherever they go online, which would only increase in an internet of things (IoT) world. She talked about Russian election ad meddling, ads for junk financial products targeted to communities of color, and said the potential for discrimination was an ongoing issue that Congress had not sufficiently addressed. She also suggested the Federal Trade Commission does not have sufficient enforcement authority to protect consumers information and how it is used and shared. She referred to the Facebook "scandal" in making her point.

House Subcommittee Takes Up Targeted Digital Advertising Understanding the Digital Advertising Ecosystem (hearing page) Subcommittee Press Release