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Axios Visuals

Digital Content Next (DCN), the publishing trade group that represents digital publishers such as The New York Times and Condé Nast, says it supports national privacy legislation, according to comments it has filed in response to a new national privacy rule proposal.

Why it matters: Like other data-driven industries, the digital publishing business is pushing for a unified privacy regulation rather than face dozens of different state and regional regulations.

The background: Last month, major tech and advertising companies like AT&T, Google, Facebook and Apple began making the same case.

  • States like California and New Jersey have already begun introducing state-wide privacy measures, as have different regions globally, most notably the E.U.

On Friday, most of the major data-driven advertising trade groups also submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), rebuking a federal privacy regulation and calling for a more "reasonable" privacy enforcement standard.

Between the lines: Like its industry rivals, the digital publishers say they agree with the national privacy standard being proposed by the Trump Administration, but says it fails to address some of the unique data use cases within the digital ecosystem.

  • DCN argues that large platforms like Google and Facebook — companies they've lobbied against aggressively for their digital ad dominance for years — use consumers' data in an opaque way, and thus should be subject to stricter regulations.
  • Specifically, they say users shouldn't need to opt in as rigorously to all data-collecting activities on digital publisher websites, because there is an understanding that those websites are using data collection for transparent purposes like fraud prevention and content personalization.
  • They argue that any company that wants to use consumer data outside of an obvious context must provide a choice for those users to opt out of that service. (For example, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook let third-parties access consumer data for shady marketing practices, is an example of what a non-obvious context would be.)

Yes, but: Digital publishers still use data collection for automated marketing, just like the bigger platforms do, and data collection for advertising purposes can sometimes be confusing to consumers.

  • Most publishers give dozens of third-party marketing firms access to consumers' first party data to enhance the marketing experience for consumers, but also to make it easier and more efficient for advertisers.
  • Still, for publishers that go beyond using first-party data, DCN says this rule should apply to them as well.

The bottom line: Digital publishers are for the first time calling for a national privacy regulation as an industry, but they want the rule to put more scrutiny on bigger platforms that have been eating its ad revenue.

Go deeper

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.

GOP research firm aims to hobble Biden nominees

Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Joshua Roberts/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican-aligned opposition research group America Rising is doing all it can to prevent President Biden from seating his top Cabinet picks.

Why it matters: After former President Trump inhibited the transition, Biden is hoping the Republican minority in Congress will cooperate with getting his team in place. Biden hadn't even been sworn in when America Rising began blasting opposition research to reporters targeting Janet Yellen and Alejandro Mayorkas.