Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Publisher Groups Rebuke Google’s Interpretation of E.U. Privacy Law

Paresh Dave, Reuters:

As part of its plans for GDPR, Google would offload to publishers the burden of getting user consent for the data collection that is at the core of how Google’s ad-serving business operates.

The company has also irked publishers by saying that rather than being a “processor” of data as defined by GDPR, it wants to be a “controller,” giving it more ability to use information such as reader data for its own purposes.

“Your proposal severely falls short on many levels,” publisher groups wrote to Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai, adding that it “would undermine the fundamental purposes of the GDPR and the efforts of publishers to comply with the letter and spirit of the law.”

One big reason why Google is able to demand terms like these from publishers is that they’re the web’s largest ad network. Of course, they wouldn’t be if so many websites — including the sites of the publishers who signed this letter in the first place — opted to use more diverse ad networks, or rolled their own.

The web has opted into an advertising duopoly, with Google and Facebook, and is now expecting two of the biggest companies on the planet to treat them fairly. I’m not saying anyone deserves this, but there is a shared responsibility between ad networks and websites, and different choices should have been made.