It’s been well over two years since the UK data protection watchdog warned the behavioral advertising industry is out of control.
ICOs have done nothing to prevent the systematic illegality of tracking and targeting industries that are trying to manipulate the attention of Internet users by abusing them. The biggest data breach in history.
In fact, a complainant who filed a petition on this issue in September 2018 is being sued for failing to take action against the misuse of personal data in real-time bidding.
But today the UK’s (outgoing) intelligence commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has issued an opinion. She warned the industry that the illegal tricks of the past won’t do it in the future.
She writes that the new advertising method must adhere to a set of what she describes as “clear data protection standards” to protect people’s online privacy.
Data Protection and Privacy In “Expectation”, Denham suggests we’d like to see the next wave of online advertising technology.
Essentially, you engineer your data protection requirements into the design of your initiative.
We provide users with the option to receive advertisements without tracking, profiling or targeting based on their personal data.
Across the ecosystem, we are transparent about how and why personal data is processed and who is responsible for processing it.
Clarify the specific purpose of the processing of personal data and show how fair, lawful and transparent this is.
Address existing privacy risks and mitigate new privacy risks that the proposal introduces.
Denham further stated that the goal of this comment is to provide “additional regulatory clarity” as new advertising technologies are developed, and that he welcomes efforts to propose the following:
Move away from the current way of online tracking and profiling.
Improve transparency for individuals and organizations.
Reduce the traditional friction of your online experience.
Giving individuals meaningful control and choice over the processing of their device information and personal data.
Ensure that valid consent is obtained if necessary.
Ensure you have demonstrable accountability throughout your supply chain.
The timing of comments is interesting given the imminent decision by the Belgian data protection agency on its flagship advertising industry consent-gathering tool. (And the current UK data protection rules share the same foundations with the rest of the EU, as the UK converted general data protection regulations into domestic law before Brexit.)
Earlier this month, IAB Europe warned that it is expected to violate the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and that its so-called ‘Transparency and Consent’ Framework (TCF) has failed to achieve any of the above claims. Remark.
But this is also the latest ‘reform’ letter to adtech breaking the rules in ICOs.
And Denham is merely restating the requirements derived from standards that already exist in UK law. Had her office actually enforced the law against advertising technology violations, there would have been no need to repeat it. But this is her favorite regulatory dance.
This latest ICO salvo looks like an outgoing commissioner’s attempt to claim credit for broader industry change as he prepares to step down. This is in response to evolving web standards such as competing browsers that actually implement privacy protections, growing consumer concerns about online tracking and data breaches, and growing interest in digital issues by lawmakers. Needle in illegal tracking.
If Denham wanted to do that, she could have taken real enforcement action long ago.
Instead, the ICO chose, at best, a partial commentary on the systematic compliance issues of embedded adtech. And basically you have to wait while the violation continues. And I look forward to/hopefully for future compliance.
But change can come regardless of the lack of regulation.
And in particular, Google’s ‘privacy sandbox’ proposal (which insists on targeting ‘privacy-safe’ ads to groups of users rather than microtargeting individual web users) received considerable attention from ICO’s remarks. “One of the most important proposals in the online advertising space right now is the Google Privacy Sandbox, which aims to replace the use of third-party cookies with alternative technologies that still enable targeted digital advertising.”
This comment heavily references @w3c work and “Self-Review Questionnaire: Security and Privacy”. This question was an honor for me to keep. 🙂 It was me who included the recommendation to do a “Privacy Impact Assessment”. So very happy and good! pic.twitter.com/ZEVnh6Nyw
— Lukasz Olejnik (@lukOlejnik) November 25, 2021
“ICO is working with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to review how Google’s plans support CMA’s mission to ensure competition in the digital marketplace while protecting people’s personal data.” Led by a UK competition watchdog, which has the power to prevent Google’s privacy sandbox from being implemented if the CMA decides the tech giant can’t, and thus prevent Google from phasing out cookie tracking support in Chrome. Nod to ongoing regulatory oversight. We do it in a way that meets our competition and privacy standards.
Therefore, this reference also means that the regulatory influence of the ICO itself is diluted in the key ad-tech-related areas where there is market reform scale and revenue.
The background here is that the UK government is pushing a competition reform that will introduce custom rules for the platform magnates that are considered ‘strategic market position’ (and thus a force capable of undermining digital competition). With a dedicated Digital Markets department already established and running within the CMA to lead the work (but this is still pending to be empowered by UK law).
So, the question of what happens to ‘old-fashioned’ regulatory silos (and narrowly focused regulatory specialties) is at the heart of the data-driven digital age.
Increased collaboration between ICOs and regulators such as CMAs could give way to much more converged or merged oversight to ensure that powerful digital technologies are not in the midst of regulatory rifts, thus preventing the ball from falling so noticeably on important issues. can. Like the future of ad tracking.
Cross digital supervision FTW?
As for the ICO itself, it’s worth noting that not only Denham is being phased out (hence her “opinion” is, of course, short-lived), but also that the UK government is busy consulting on ‘reforms’ for UK data. protection rules.
These reforms could significantly reduce domestic privacy and data protection levels. And even legalize the tracking of malicious ads. A minister who seems more interested in the hollow sound (about removing barriers to “innovation”) eventually forsakes the legal requirement and asks internet users to agree to do things like tracking and profiling first. , according to some suggestions.
So John Edwards, the next UK intelligence commissioner, could apply very different ‘data rules’.
And – if so – Denham will help bring the sliding standard to life with her roundabout way.
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