Who will be the main loser from Europe’s new data-privacy law?

May 24, 2018

“PLEASE don’t leave us.” From the dozens of e-mails in people’s inboxes, begging them to give their consent to be sent further messages, you could deduce that the senders of newsletters and the like are hardest hit by the European Union’s tough new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on May 25th. But the main loser may well be an industry that few have ever heard of but most have dealings with every day: advertising technology, or ad tech. In fact, the GDPR would probably not exist at all were it not for this collection of companies, which have an insatiable hunger for personal data.

Ad tech emerged because advertising is the internet’s default business model. Since targeted ads tend to be more efficient and targeting requires personal data (sites previously visited, searches in online stores and the like), these data became the fuel of a new industry to automate online advertising. It is so complex that even experts often resort to what is...Continue reading

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