Advertisers stood up for the secret

The Communications Commission of the RSPP criticized the draft government decree, according to which advertisers must provide Roskomnadzor with information about the cost of advertising, audience parameters and the advertisement itself. These data are commercial secrets, their transfer to third parties will lead to additional costs and risks for the business, the commission believes. Roskomnadzor insists that the information is needed to consider complaints from citizens. But the Ministry of Digital Development promises to finalize the project, taking into account the position of the business.

“Kommersant” got acquainted with the review of the RSPP commission on the draft government decree developed by the Ministry of Digital Development. It approves the composition of the data that advertisers must transfer to Roskomnadzor under the law on a unified system for accounting for advertising on the Internet. The draft was published for public discussion on regulation.gov.ru on 3 December.

The law on a unified accounting system for all online advertising in Russia (see Kommersant dated May 18, 2021) was adopted on June 17, 2021. It provides for the emergence of a system responsible for collecting and processing information about advertising posted on the Internet. Roskomnadzor will be engaged in its creation and maintenance. The law comes into force on September 1. The draft resolution assumes that advertisers will transfer information about the advertiser, distributor and operator of advertising (name, TIN, address and other information) to the system, as well as information about the advertisement itself: volume, cost, parameters of the target audience. In addition, the advertisement itself and its description must be transmitted.

The RSPP Commission considers the composition of information to be transferred redundant, and the transfer of information about the advertisement itself is “inappropriate and unreasonable.” This is contrary to the law “On Advertising” and may lead to additional financial costs and risks for business in connection with the settlement of the transfer of objects of copyright and related rights, follows from the recall. In addition, the RSPP notes that the draft contains requirements for the provision of information related to trade secrets: information about concluded contracts, their price, the cost of displaying advertising, parameters of the target audience.

Roskomnadzor explained to Kommersant that access directly to the advertisement itself would be required “to exercise the powers of authorized authorities in terms of monitoring compliance with legislation in the field of advertising and information, including when considering citizens’ appeals.” The Ministry of Digital Development assured that “the project is being finalized taking into account the comments with the participation of all interested parties, including business.”

The register can add transparency to the advertising market, recognize in “Yandex”. But at the same time, the company clarifies, a number of paragraphs of by-laws “causes concern, including the excessive amount of stored information and ensuring its security.” It is too early to talk about costs yet, they added in Yandex. VK declined to comment.

A Kommersant source in the advertising market noted that neither the law itself nor the by-laws indicate who will have access to information from the register that is a commercial secret. This, in his opinion, creates risks of resale of information.

319.2 billion rubles

amounted to online advertising sales in 2021, according to the IAB.

Most of all, advertisers are worried about the uncertainty of the purposes for which the collected information will be used, Dmitry Gorbunov, a partner at Rustam Kurmaev and Partners, confirms. The lawyer agrees that the registry will help regulators track violations. “In addition to the quite obvious prohibitions and restrictions on the advertising of alcohol, tobacco and nicotine-containing products, prescription drugs, narcotic drugs, they may concern, for example, advertising of organizations recognized as extremist and terrorist organizations, calls for participation in certain political actions.” But, adds Mr. Gorbunov, such an extensive database, which greatly facilitates bringing to administrative or even criminal liability, “cannot but create tension among market participants.”

Anastasia Gavrilyuk

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