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GroupM complains that ePrivacy directive will give too much power to media owners

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The draft ePrivacy directive from the European Commission, which effectively requires a consumer opt-in if you want to collect or use individual data, including when tracking people across the Internet (like with cookies), should concern all marketers. That is the opinion of GroupM, expressed in its annual ‘Interaction’ document, which analyses the advertising market for clients and partners. The company is worried that the proposal will make advertisers too reliant on first-party data from media and digital platform owners and claims this will upset the equilibrium in the data-driven market.

GroupM thinks the directive takes a very restrictive approach towards what it calls third-party, data-driven business service providers and takes no account of how responsible a company is with the personal data it collects – only whether they have permission to collect it.

“By essentially changing the current data practice from an opt-out to an opt-in model, the ePrivacy draft risks discriminating against third-party data collectors like marketers, agencies and data brokers, where risks of data breaches are extremely low. These and other third-party data driven business-to-business providers would be disadvantaged and obliged to work with a limited number of dominant companies capable of circumventing limitations imposed by the law.

“It would force advertising and technology companies to leverage media owners’ direct relationships with their readers and viewers,” the ‘Interaction’ document continues. “The ePrivacy directive threatens to move the whole digital dynamic away from third-parties. If the proposal is to be translated into law as it stands, ‘walled data gardens’ would be further emboldened and competition could be even more distorted.”

GroupM says there is a risk that the EC will become a disruptive force in audience selection and targeting – if the legislation proceeds in its current form. “The industry will need to work hard to help the EC to understand the unintended consequences of this draft regulation,” the company says.

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