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Leonid Bershidsky

EU Privacy Rules May Give Google More Power

The burden of disclosure will fall on publishers.

The all-seeing eye.

The all-seeing eye.

Photographer: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The disingenuous way companies are attempting to comply with the letter, not the spirit, of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is only part of the problem with the new privacy rule, which goes into effect May 25. For publishers already forced to accept Google’s near monopoly on programmatic advertising on their sites, the new regulation could make things worse.

Google has altered its ad policies to comply with the GDPR. The changes affect all businesses running its ad modules or using the U.S. company’s programmatic advertising tools offered under the DoubleClick umbrella brand, which is the biggest digital advertising platform. Most publishers sell their inventory through Google, and many derive a majority of their revenue from Google-run services. Now, Google has told them it intends to act as controller of any personal data provided by the publishers under the GDPR. That means the internet giant will need publishers to obtain consent from readers or subscribers for its use of the data. The publishers will essentially have no say about how Google uses the data they hand over. The important thing is that if they fail to obtain consent, Google won’t serve ads on their sites.