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Five Fundamentals for the Future: DMA Calls on Policymakers to Protect the Value of Data

Post Date: October 29, 2013
By: Linda Woolley

Data has fundamentally changed the way we live.  We live in a data-driven world, and consumers enjoy greater benefits from data-driven marketing today than ever before.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that policymakers in Washington and beyond are showing a greater interest than ever before in how data is being used, for what purposes, and to what ends.  In recent months, legislators and regulators seeking to understand how data is used within the Data-Driven Marketing Economy have opened several investigations that call into question basic and long-standing data-driven marketing practices.

DMA is the association representing the Data-Driven Marketing Economy (DDME).  We are committed to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing – and all of the benefits it provides to consumers, businesses, the economy…our data-driven way of life.  Our “think tank,” the Data-Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI) is one way we advance and protect the industry.

DDMI recently commissioned an independent, academic study entitled “The Value of Data: Consequences for Insight, Innovation and Efficiency in the U.S. Economy.”  This first-of-its-kind study quantifies the economic impact – from GDP to jobs – realized when the responsible use of consumer data is allowed to fuel data-driven innovation.

DDMI commissioned this study to give policymakers in Washington and beyond the facts about the vital role of responsible data use in fueling innovation and economic growth, the benefits that the DDME provides to individual businesses and the U.S. economy as a whole – and what the impact would be if regulation impeded responsible exchange of data across the Data-Driven Marketing Economy.

The study moves us from a fear-based conversation to a fact-based conversation:

  1.  The DDME added $156 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy and fueled more than 675,000 jobs in 2012 alone.
  2. The real value of data is in its exchange across the DDME – 110 Billion in revenue and more than 475,000 jobs in the US alone.
  3. Innovation and Small Businesses Are the Biggest Winners in the DDME.
  4. The DDME is “Made in America” and Data-Driven Marketing is a Major U.S. Export.

With the release of this study, policymakers in Washington and beyond have the facts about the critical role of responsible data use in fueling innovation and economic growth, the benefits that the DDME provides to individual businesses and the U.S. economy as a whole – and what would be impacted if regulation were to impede the responsible exchange of data across the DDME.

We now know for certain that regulation would impact innovation, small businesses, jobs and economic growth.

  • New regulations stopping the exchange of data across the DDME would impact $110 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy and 478,000 American jobs.
  • The biggest winners in the DDME – innovation and small businesses – would also be the biggest losers if startups could no longer use data to overcome barriers to entry, raise ad-supported revenue, and identify new and niche markets to serve.
  • It would impact billions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs, make small business less competitive, and stifle innovation.
  • In the end, it would hurt consumers by limiting choices and raising prices.

The bottom line is…well-meaning but poorly-conceived legislation or regulation restricting the responsible use of data would harm the U.S. economy.  That is why DMA is calling on policymakers to do whatever it takes to preserve and protect the value of data. 

We call on Congress to protect our data-driven economy by focusing its legislative efforts around data policy on “Five Fundamentals for the Future:”

  1. Pass a national data security and breach notification law;
  2. Preempt state laws that endanger the value of data;
  3. Prohibit privacy class action suits and fund Federal Trade Commission enforcement;
  4. Reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA); and
  5. Preserve robust self-regulation for the Data-Driven Marketing Economy.

We are also calling on all data-driven businesses to join DMA in doing their part to secure the data-driven future.

I am delighted to announce the launch of the Data Protection Alliance, a legislative coalition that will focus specifically on ensuring that effective regulation and legislation protects the value of the Data-Driven Marketing Economy far into the future.

All of you will hear much more about these calls to action in the coming days, and I hope that you will rise to the challenge of protecting the responsible use of data – and advancing our data-driven way of life.

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