Native advertising, the mobile ecosystem, and health claims are areas of interest for Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
In a recent interview with AdWeek, Rich said that “Native advertising will be a huge and continuing theme in our work.” In addition, “I want to make a broader push into mobile, mobile security, mobile payments, making sure we are able to bring mobile investigations, just as we are able to bring brick-and-mortar investigations,” she said. Rich characterized deceptive health claims as “the worst” because “they not only take consumers’ money, but they also could prevent consumers from seeking more effective treatments.”
Privacy protections for consumers are also on Rich’s radar, who said she is “bothered” by targeted ads, particularly health ads, or ads based on the fact she has children. “I don’t personally care about ads for shoes. I sometimes find them annoying, unless there’s a coupon.”
Rich said she doesn’t believe consumers “have any idea” that by providing their information it could be sold and re-sold again, expressing her support for data security legislation. “For a long time, I’ve supported privacy and data security legislation, and I think it’s time,” she told AdWeek.
When asked about recent updates to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, Rich said the changes were “robust” but “there is a lot of debate around teen privacy.” With two teenagers herself – ages 13 and 15 – Rich said she “push[es] privacy choices and parental control over technology,” but “all hell is breaking loose at home.”
In addition to teaching her kids how to clear cookies – which they do “sometimes” – Rich admitted that she also looks on their computers and uses her Facebook page “to spy on my 15-year-old.”
Why it matters: Rich said agreement exists “among many constituencies” that data security legislation would be beneficial. “I am going to do everything I can to support that,” she said.