In written comments provided to the White House, ad groups are standing behind self-regulation in lieu of privacy legislation.

Earlier this year, President Obama created a task force to study the implications of big data on privacy. In addition to taking meetings with various industry members, the White House’s Science and Technology Policy Office also sought comments about whether legislation was necessary.

In response, both the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Association of National Advertisers threw their collective weight behind self-regulatory efforts and cautioned that concern about government surveillance should not be equated with the collection of data for marketing purposes.

“Unlike government access and use, consumers have a choice regarding business practices,” the IAB wrote in its submission. “Coupled with the strong privacy regulations that exist today, self-regulatory programs can adequately meet evolving consumer privacy expectations in the digital marketplace.”

The ANA agreed, writing that “It is difficult to see how broad or comprehensive new privacy laws or regulations at the present time could keep pace with the revolutionary and extraordinarily rapid transformation of the Internet and other new media techniques.”

Both groups also emphasized the strides made in recent years and pointed to the Digital Advertising Alliance as an industry success story. “The private sector has made substantial progress over the past several years to enhance the level of privacy protection for consumers,” Daniel L. Jaffe, executive vice president for government relations for the group, wrote for the ANA. Developments such as the DAA “demonstrate that companies are pro-active as well as responsive to consumers, and focusing on privacy as a way to distinguish themselves in the marketplace.”

The ANA did indicate support for federal legislation in one area. It maintained that it could be beneficial to establish a uniform national standard to preempt the existing 47 different state laws on data breach notification.

To read the ANA’s comments, click here.

To read the IAB’s comments, click here

Why it matters: The IAB and the ANA both distinguished the industry’s use of data from government surveillance and argued that data collection for marketing purposes does not require as “heavy-handed” an approach as the need to regulate government access to private citizen data. Instead, as both groups emphasized, the current framework of self-regulatory efforts is the appropriate structure for addressing privacy concerns.