IAB Chief Blames “Extremists” for Attempting to Destroy Ad Industry


David Cohen, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), has accused “extremists” of attempting to cripple the advertising industry in America. Speaking at the IAB’s annual leadership conference, Cohen criticized politicians, privacy advocates, and tech giant Apple for their efforts to restrict the advertising industry.

Cohen specifically targeted politicians such as Amy Klobuchar and Ted Cruz, claiming that they would “throw our industry under their campaign buses” if given the chance. He also warned against the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), a federal privacy bill that could outlaw certain forms of behavioral advertising. Cohen stated that if the ADPPA had passed, it would have “destroyed our industry” and negatively impacted “Big Tech, Small Tech and everything in-between Tech.”

The IAB leader also condemned the nonprofit Accountable Tech, describing it as “one of the more virulent anti-advertising groups trying to shut down the ad-supported internet.” Accountable Tech had previously petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to outlaw “surveillance advertising” which includes serving ads to consumers based on their activity across different websites.

Additionally, Cohen criticized Apple for their efforts to “smother the advertising industry.” The IAB had previously opposed Apple’s decision to require app developers to obtain consumers’ consent before tracking them, and even brought an antitrust complaint over Apple’s consent setting in Europe. On the other hand, advocacy groups such as Amnesty International have supported the opt-in approach to mobile tracking.

It’s clear that the advertising industry and tech companies have different views on privacy and tracking. The IAB is concerned about the potential negative impact of stricter privacy laws and regulations on the advertising industry, while privacy advocates and tech companies argue that consumers have the right to control their personal data and should be able to opt-in to tracking. The debate is likely to continue as technology and privacy laws continue to evolve.

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