Consumer Protection Overview

MPA is active on consumer protection issues on both the Federal and State level. MPA’s advocacy interests related to consumer protection can be broken into the following four categories: 

Privacy:

The last decade has seen increased consumer and governmental interest in privacy. Over a number of years, Congress and numerous state legislatures have been active in regard to  online privacy, data security,  onlinespyware, and behavioral tracking of online activities. MPA closely monitors these legislative proposals to ensure consistency with the privacy principles advocated by MPA – namely a “notice and choice” or “opt-out” system. MPA also evaluates these legislative proposals for ease of implementation and will continue to participate in the legislative process to ensure that any privacy legislation under consideration is workable for the magazine industry.

Marketing Practices: 

MPA carefully monitors legislative proposals at the federal and state level that could have a negative impact on publishers’ ability to market to current and potential magazine subscribers. In evaluating proposals on marketing practices, including trial offers and automatic renewals, MPA seeks an appropriate balance between consumer protection measures and workable business practices. MPA supports clear and conspicuous disclosure to consumers of all material terms of magazine offers while opposing overly restrictive or unnecessary requirements that interfere with publishers’ creative flexibility without enhancing consumer understanding.

Data Security: 

Both consumers and companies operating in the digital space have called on Congress to enact a federal standard that best protects consumers from the unauthorized use of sensitive, personally identifiable information, and also establishes an effective protocol for businesses to notify their customers when a breach has occurred.  In the absence of Federal legislation, nearly all 50 states have enacted their own unique data breach laws making compliance an onerous task.  MPA supports the concept of data security legislation, so long as it is narrowly focused, preempts state law to provide a national standard, and includes provisions for publishers’ business needs, including exemptions of mere marketing data.

SPAM:

Many marketers  use e-mail as an economical and effective way to contact current and prospective customers with information about products and services that may be of interest to them.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous marketers have discovered that e-mail is an inexpensive way to send deceptive and misleading solicitations, better known as spam, to consumers. In response to the concerns raised by both consumers and businesses, MPA worked with lawmakers to find reasonable solutions that appropriately balance the need to restrict false and misleading e-mail solicitations with legitimate marketing needs. 

Why it Matters to MPA and Our Members:

  • MPA and our members are deeply committed to protecting consumers and their privacy interests while enriching their interaction with the brands they trust and value most.
  • As magazine publishers adopt new ways to connect and enhance reader experience through digital and mobile platforms, consumer data is an effective resource that allows publishers to market and tailor their products to best fit the needs of their customers.
  • Like many industries, magazines publishers increasingly rely on data for everything from operations to access to content. And, like many industries, the security of this data for our members, and their customers is of upmost importance.

Helpful Links and Resources: 

 

MPA DC Staff Contacts:
Rita Cohen: rcohen@magazine.org
Mary Holland: mholland@magazine.org