IPG Caught in Conspiracy to Oppose California Data Privacy Bill

california bill, IPG, Acxiom, data privacy

Ad giant IPG has been revealed to be orchestrating an opposition campaign against a California bill.

  • The bill SB 362 allows individuals to request the deletion of their data from data broker records.
  • IPG’s emails reveal plans to exploit personal data and targeting capabilities to oppose the legislation.

According to an exclusive POLITICO report, Interpublic Group (IPG) is strategizing an opposition campaign against a California bill aimed at bolstering people’s control over their personal data.

The California bill in question, SB 362, dubbed the Delete Act, allows individuals to request the removal of their personal data from data brokers’ records. In a nutshell, data brokers gather and sell personal information to third parties, including sensitive details like medical conditions or life events. They would then create profiles for targeted advertising. SB 362 would compel companies to delete all individual data upon request, including information from external sources.

IPG’s internal emails underscore how the advertising giant intends to exploit this personal data and its targeting capabilities to counteract a policy proposal that could impact its profitability.

In an Aug. 14th email sent to other IPG executives and reviewed by POLITICO, Sheila Colclasure, IPG’s global chief digital responsibility and public policy officer, communicated the desire to launch an “opposition campaign” using its digital advertising capabilities, focusing on California.

Notably, the emails also revealed the involvement of Experian, a major credit monitoring agency and data broker.

Chad Engelgau, CEO of Acxiom, a data broker under IPG, highlighted the potential use of data for the ad campaign, further emphasizing the collaboration within the conglomerate.

In a statement on behalf of IPG, Acxiom, and global chief Colclasure, Engelgau expressed that they were advocating for a national privacy law rather than state regulations.

“We are offering our view as subject matter experts to trade organizations and legislative bodies on why this proposal will damage the economy, negatively impacting both small and large businesses, and have asked our industry partners to join the dialogue,” he said. “We will continue our work to help create common sense rules at a federal level.”

For their part, Experian spokesperson denied any SB362-related advertising but clarified its opposition to the California bill.

While aware of the opposition campaign, the California bill’s author, Democratic state Senator Josh Becker, denied knowing the key players behind it. Becker voiced concerns over IPG’s utilization of personal data for lobbying purposes, highlighting the ethical implications of using individuals’ data to influence policy debates.

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