Denham Highlights Concerns Around Real Time Bidding

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has highlighted a number of concerns around adtech in a new report but said that the ICO wants to take a “measured and iterative approach” to the “complex” market, continuing to engage with the sector, before undertaking a review in six months.   

Published today The ‘Update report into adtech and real time bidding’ highlighted a number of areas of concern with regard to the use of personal data in the real time bidding process and the complexity of adtech.

The ICO said it now expected data controllers in the adtech industry to “reevaluate their approach” to privacy notices, use of personal data, and the lawful bases they apply within the real time bidding ecosystem.

In the foreword to the report, Ms Denham said: “Our report will be passed to the adtech sector for their response. We are clear about the areas where we have initial concerns, and we expect to see change.

“But we understand this is an extremely complex market involving many organisations and many technologies. We want to take a measured and iterative approach, before undertaking a further industry review in six months’ time.

“With that in mind, we’ll continue engaging with the sector, further exploring the data protection implications of the real time bidding system. We’ll continue collaborating with Data Protection Authorities in other European countries too, who are also looking at complaints in this area.”

The News Media Association has been in discussions with the ICO around adtech issues since their factfinding event in London earlier this year attended by around 100 stakeholders. A further meeting with the ICO and NMA member publishers took place at the NMA this week.

Ms Denham added: “Innovation in technology has the potential to enhance all of our lives. The internet is central to that, and we understand that advertisements fund much of what we enjoy online. We understand the need for a system that allows revenue for publishers and audiences for advertisers.

“We understand a need for the process to happen in a heartbeat. Our aim is to prompt changes that reflect this reality, but also to ensure respect for internet users’ legal rights.”