Noise around the threat the European General Data Protection Regulation poses to publishers, ad tech companies and marketers is getting louder as the 2018 deadline for enforcement approaches.
Naturally, a flurry of “GDPR experts” — some of them helpful, others compounding the confusion — have surfaced over the last year to help businesses navigate the challenges.
There’s a lot of misinformation circulating
Robert Streeter, News UK’s data protection and privacy officer, emphasized the importance of separating fact from fiction regarding the regulations at Rubicon Project’s Automation event in London on Sept. 6. “When you read about ‘expert’ comment on GDPR, I’d advise taking that with caution and examining your own approach to it,” he said. “There’s a lot of misinformation circulating.”
Myth: GDPR is a Europe-only issue
Far from being some typically bureaucratic issue that applies to the 28 members of the EU (including the U.K., as Brexit won’t affect its compliance), GDPR will affect any American company that offers goods or services to consumers in the EU or monitors the behavior of people located in Europe, regardless of where their offices or ad servers are based.
Myth: GDPR is limited to personally identifiable information
GDPR won’t be restricted to collecting sensitive data relating to individuals. Personal data under GDPR applies to IP addresses and cookie tracking, too. “Traditionally, the digital ad sector treated cookies and IP addresses as anonymous, but now, that’s no longer the case,” said Stringer. “People are using language they’re used to, like PII and non-PII, which is confusing things. It’s important people treat non-PII as personal data, too.”
Myth: ‘Consent’ is the only way to process data
The GDPR’s more stringent rules around companies obtaining explicit consent for collecting and processing customer data have caused a fair amount of hand-wringing across the ad market. The new array of adjectives used to describe different forms of consumer consent — “explicit,” “unambiguous,” “informed” — are enough to make hearts race. But as with most things, there are more ways to skin a cat. “Consent is the most viable and perhaps only option when it comes to some aspects of collecting and using personal data for digital advertising purposes.
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