DMA: Despite Prez's Props, Data-Driven Economy Is Still at Risk

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The trade association applauds Obama's commitment to digital marketing, but pleads for more safeguards from Washington.

In Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama likened the blossoming of digital technology to the handiwork of Edison and the Wright brothers. “We've protected an open Internet and taken bold new steps to get more students and Americans online,” he boasted. “We've launched next-generation manufacturing hubs and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day.”

While lauding the President's commitment to a data-driven economy, Direct Marketing Association VP of Advocacy Chris Oswald maintained that it remains at risk without a national breach notification standard, a new Safe Harbor agreement with the EU, and legislative reform. Here are some specifics Oswald spelled out in a statement released today:

Safe Harbor: “When the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down the Safe Harbor Framework in October 2015, the Court put at risk the ability of over 4,000 U.S. companies to conduct responsible business that benefits consumers and many national economies, particularly among those most in need of commercial innovation. The reestablishment of a Safe Harbor agreement for data flows between the EU and the U.S remains a high priority, and DMA urges the administration to take the final steps to establish a Safe Harbor 2.0 to ensure U.S. businesses continue operations in Europe.”

Self-regulation: “To sustain both the job growth touted  by the President and the continued data-driven advancements and innovations in technology, regulators must continue the balance between adaptable industry self-regulation alongside sectoral laws. Overregulation is a sure method to stifle economic growth and innovation, be it from state or federal authorities. Existing law provides a proper balance, with sectoral laws (such as HIPAA, COPPA and FCRA) securing sensitive and private information while industry self-regulation monitors and addresses both online and offline marketing and advertising information practices.”

Data-Driven job growth: “As the President highlighted job growth in recent years, the data-driven marketing ecosystem can claim its role in accelerating that growth. Between 2012 and 2014, jobs in the data-driven marketing industry grew by nearly 50%. The data-driven marketing industry is uniquely positioned to encourage jobs and sales growth across all industry sectors. All companies--whether large or small, mature or just starting up--benefit from today's advanced, data-driven marketing environment.”

On February 3, the DMA will release “The Value of Data 2015,” a follow-up to the detailed assessment of data-driven marketing as a $156 billion economy done in 2013 by professors John Deighton of Harvard and Peter Johnson of Columbia.

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