If you thought ad-tech companies weren’t taking seriously the prospect of GDPR-style privacy legislation coming to the US, consider this – in March, MediaMath hired a State Department official as its VP of government policy.

Daniel Sepulveda had been deputy assistant secretary at the department, and had served as its “ambassador” on international communications policy.

The reality of GDPR, which affects all global companies processing data on European citizens, has shaken ad-tech firms. Many have now moved beyond the denial stage – for some, GDPR-style legislation on US shores is now an expectation. Acxiom CEO Scott Howe sees copycat policy occurring state-by-state and instead is advocating for a federal implementation of privacy legislation.

Washington, DC-based Sepulveda contemplates GDPR and more in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“As we move forward, we want to make sure that the implementation of that rule, or any new law in the United States, balances and takes into account the idea that the modern ad supported internet is the single greatest engine for both civic and economic growth that this world has ever seen,” he says.

Sepulveda says bad practices involving the mishandling of consumer data by technology companies were not “mail-intentional”: “It was just done because of a love for innovation and creation, without having given full consideration to privacy by design, or the long term effects.”

But, like many others who add together the consequences of GDPR and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, he predicts certain action coming from DC.

“The Congress is reacting to it, trying to understand it, and see what we can do around that issue, and it does come back to the individual having a much greater knowledge of who and how they are being presented to the world, and who is trying to reach them with what kind of message,” he says.

“With thoughtful discussion, we can get to a place where people are in much greater control of their digital identity.”

This video is part of a series titled The Consumer First, a New Era in Digital Media presented by MediaMath. For more from the series, please visit this page.