Facing the requirements of the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is pushing federal lawmakers to adopt a uniform national standard before a patchwork of state privacy laws develops.

“A uniform federal privacy standard could provide clarity [and] market certainty and add fuel to future innovation, while preserving the value and benefit that online advertising brings to the internet ecosystem,” David Grimaldi, IAB’s executive vice president, public policy, wrote to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

For years, the IAB argued that federal legislation was unnecessary given the industry’s program of self-regulation that was established in 2008 by the Digital Advertising Alliance. The guidance provides consumers with access to relevant information and control over how their information is used.

But with the recent enactment of the CCPA and the passage of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the organization urged Congress to develop a federal privacy law that will pre-empt state laws.

“IAB is concerned that laws such as the [GDPR] and the [CCPA] will result in a patchwork of varying state laws and consumer confusion, and would negatively impact the online user experience,” according to the letter. “Despite the best intentions of those efforts, unintended consequences have resulted in leading American websites going dark in Europe due to the uncertainty around the GDPR’s provisions, and the CCPA could lead to an internet experience in California that contrasts with that of every other state.”

Any approach to a privacy standard must be “flexible and nimble,” the IAB said, “so that ‘rules of the road’ can evolve with innovation and consumer expectations.” The letter also suggested that any regulatory model should “provide meaningful consumer controls that are technologically neutral, proportionate to consumer risk and encourage industry best practices.”

The IAB is “ready to work with the Committee on ideas to enhance consumer privacy while preserving the tremendous value and benefits of the advertising-supported internet,” Grimaldi concluded. “We believe the time is now to consider sensible legislation to address these pressing challenges.”

To read the letter, click here.

Why it matters: The IAB sent its letter just before the Senate committee held a hearing on privacy where representatives from tech companies testified in support of federal legislation for largely the same CCPA pre-emption reasons as the IAB.