Google de­lay on ads stan­dard for EU pri­vacy law cre­ates com­pli­ance mess

Enterprise - - International news -

Google´s de­layed en­try into a con­sor­tium of ad­ver­tis­ing tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies has spoiled the mem­bers´ push to com­ply with a new Euro­pean pri­vacy law, six peo­ple in­volved in the pro­gram leav­ing some firms ex­posed to fines.

Most at risk are un­wit­ting own­ers of ad-funded web­sites and apps, which Google has said have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of get­ting con­sent to serve tar­geted ads to Euro­pean con­sumers.

The ex­pe­ri­ence shows how Google pol­icy de­ci­sions cas­cade through the $200 bil­lion global on­line ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try, which is dom­i­nated in most facets by the Al­pha­bet Inc unit.

Data about a web­site vis­i­tor´s iden­tity can pass through a dozen ad tech firms be­fore an ad is loaded, and each one must have user con­sent or an­other le­gal ba­sis to ac­cess it un­der Europe´s Gen­eral Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tion (GDPR).

Hun­dreds of ad tech firms launched soft­ware to­gether a month be­fore GDPR kicked in on May 25 to ver­ify con­sent be­fore dis­play­ing ads.

Google an­nounced on May 22 that it would not join the in­dus­try pro­gram un­til Au­gust.

Google de­vised a tem­po­rary so­lu­tion that the peo­ple said has been im­per­fect.

As a re­sult, some of Google´s ad­ver­tis­ing clients are tar­get­ing ads to users who have not given con­sent to per­son­al­ized mar­ket­ing.

Google de­clined to com­ment on pos­si­ble pol­icy vi­o­la­tions, in­stead re­it­er­at­ing that GDPR “is a big change for ev­ery­one” and that it is work­ing with part­ners on com­pli­ance.

GDPR fines can reach as high as 4 per­cent of the firm´s an­nual rev­enue.

Four ad tech ex­ec­u­tives said they are count­ing on def­er­ence from reg­u­la­tors un­til Google sup­ports the con­sor­tium tech­nol­ogy.

“Once Google adopts the con­sent frame­work, much of the con­fu­sion will start to set­tle down a bit,” said Wal­ter Knapp, chief ex­ec­u­tive of ad soft­ware com­pany Sovrn Hold­ings Inc.

Au­thor­i­ties in France and Ger­many said they have yet to in­ves­ti­gate con­sent is­sues re­lated to on­line ads. Fi­nan­cial and le­gal an­a­lysts said it is a mat­ter of time.

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