Facebook and adtech face a turbulent time in Europe’s courts: the Brussels case.

This note examines a Belgian court ruling against Facebook's tracking and approach to consent. Facebook and adtech companies should expect tough sanctions when they find themselves before European courts - unless they change their current approach to data protection and the GDPR.  Facebook is playing a dangerous game of “chicken” with the regulators. First, it has begun to confront users in … Continue reading Facebook and adtech face a turbulent time in Europe’s courts: the Brussels case.

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Risks in IAB Europe’s proposed consent mechanism

This note examines the recently published IAB “transparency and consent” proposal. Major flaws render the system unworkable. The real issue is what should be done with the vast majority of the audience who will not give consent.  Publishers would have no control (and are expected to blindly trust 2,000+ adtech companies) The adtech companies[1] who drafted … Continue reading Risks in IAB Europe’s proposed consent mechanism

PageFair writes to all EU Member States about the ePrivacy Regulation

This week PageFair wrote to the permanent representatives of all Member States of the European Union in support for the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. Our remarks were tightly bounded by our expertise in online advertising technology. We do not have an opinion on how the proposed Regulation will impact other areas. The letter addresses four issues: … Continue reading PageFair writes to all EU Member States about the ePrivacy Regulation

Adtech must change to protect publishers under the GDPR (IAPP podcast)

The follow up to the International Association of Privacy Professionals' most listened to podcast of 2017.  Angelique Carson of the International Association of Privacy Professionals quizzes PageFair's Dr Johnny Ryan on the crisis facing publishers, as they grapple with adtech vendors and attendant risks ahead of the GDPR. The podcast covers: Why personal data can not be used without … Continue reading Adtech must change to protect publishers under the GDPR (IAPP podcast)

PageFair’s long letter to the Article 29 Working Party

This note discusses a letter that PageFair submitted to the Article 29 Working Party. The answers may shape the future of the adtech industry.  Eventually the data protection authorities of Europe will gain a thorough understanding of the adtech industry, and enforce data protection upon it. This will change how the industry works. Until then, we are in … Continue reading PageFair’s long letter to the Article 29 Working Party

GDPR’s non-tracking cookie banners

This note outlines how an anomaly in European law will impact cookie storage and presents wireframes of permission requests for non-tracking cookies.  Online media will soon find itself in an anomalous position. It will be necessary to apply the GDPR’s consent requirements to cookies that reveal no personal data, even though the GDPR was not … Continue reading GDPR’s non-tracking cookie banners

GDPR consent design: how granular must adtech opt-ins be?

This note examines the range of distinct adtech data processing purposes that will require opt-in under the GDPR.[1] In late 2017 the Article 29 Working Party cautioned that “data subjects should be free to choose which purpose they accept, rather than having to consent to a bundle of processing purposes”.[2] Consent requests for multiple purposes … Continue reading GDPR consent design: how granular must adtech opt-ins be?

Can websites use “tracking walls” to force consent under GDPR?

This note examines whether websites can use "tracking walls" under the GDPR, and challenges the recent guidance on this issue from IAB Europe.  This week, IAB Europe published a paper that advises website owners that tracking walls (i.e., modal dialogs that require people to give consent to be tracked in order to access a website) will be … Continue reading Can websites use “tracking walls” to force consent under GDPR?

Adtech consent is meaningless unless one stops data leakage

Websites and advertisers can not prevent personal data from leaking in programmatic advertising. If not fixed, this will render consent to use personal data meaningless.  The GDPR applies the principle of transparency:[1] People must be able to easily learn who has their personal data, and what they are doing with it. Equally importantly, people must have surety … Continue reading Adtech consent is meaningless unless one stops data leakage

Research result: what percentage will consent to tracking for advertising?

This note presents the results of a survey of 300+ publishers, adtech, brands, and various others, on whether users will consent to tracking under the GDPR and the ePrivacy Regulation.  In early August we published a note on consent, and asked whether people would click "yes". We would like to thank the 300+ colleagues who … Continue reading Research result: what percentage will consent to tracking for advertising?

How the GDPR will disrupt Google and Facebook

Google and Facebook will be disrupted by the new European data protection rules that are due to apply in May 2018. This note explains how.  Google and Facebook will be unable to use the personal data they hold for advertising purposes without user permission. This is an acute challenge because, contrary to what some commentators have assumed, they cannot use a “service-wide” opt-in for … Continue reading How the GDPR will disrupt Google and Facebook

The Privacy Case for Non-Tracking Cookies: PageFair writes to the European Parliament

In the last month, we have written to the MEPs leading the Parliament's work on the ePrivacy Regulation (the "rapporteurs") to propose an amendment. Here is a copy of the letter. PageFair supports the proposed ePrivacy Regulation, in so far as it will change online behavioural advertising. This is an unusual position for an ad tech company, … Continue reading The Privacy Case for Non-Tracking Cookies: PageFair writes to the European Parliament

Here is what GDPR consent dialogues could look like. Will people click yes?

THIS NOTE HAS NOW BEEN SUPERSEDED BY A A MORE RECENT PAGEFAIR INSIDER NOTE ON GDPR CONSENT DIALOGUES. PLEASE REFER TO THE NEW NOTE.  This note presents sketches of GDPR consent dialogues, and invites readers to participate in research on whether people will consent.  [x_alert heading="Note" type="info"]It is important to note that the dialogue presented … Continue reading Here is what GDPR consent dialogues could look like. Will people click yes?

The 3 biggest challenges in GDPR for online media & advertising

This note explains the three deepest challenges that the online advertising industry must overcome to survive the new European data rules. It also outlines our approach.  The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) pose particular challenges for publishers, brands, and adtech companies. These go beyond the normal gap analysis and security overhaul that other businesses … Continue reading The 3 biggest challenges in GDPR for online media & advertising

Risks to brands under new EU regulations

Brands face serious new risks under the GDPR and the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR), and agencies will not be able to shield them. This note explains why, and describes what these risks are.  When the GDPR and the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) apply a year from now brands that use personal data in their marketing campaigns will become exposed … Continue reading Risks to brands under new EU regulations

PageFair statement at European Parliament rapporteur’s ePrivacy Regulation roundtable

Lightly edited transcription of PageFair remarks at rapporteur's sessions at the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 May 2017, concerning the ePrivacy Regulation.  Statement at roundtable on Articles 9, and 10.  Dr Johnny Ryan: Thank you. PageFair is a European adtech company. We are very much in support of the Regulation as proposed, in so far … Continue reading PageFair statement at European Parliament rapporteur’s ePrivacy Regulation roundtable

Why pseudonymization is not the silver bullet for GDPR.

Pseudonymization will not save online advertising companies from having to seek consent to use browsing and other personal data. This note explains why. Personal data will become toxic in May 2018 when the General Data Protection Regulation is applied, unless data subjects have given consent.[1] Some businesses may try to rely on “pseudonymization”, a partial … Continue reading Why pseudonymization is not the silver bullet for GDPR.

PageFair statement at European Parliament ALDE shadow rapporteurs session on the proposed ePrivacy Regulation

Lightly edited transcription of PageFair remarks at European Parliament ALDE session on 4 May 2017.  Dr Johnny Ryan: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be with you this afternoon. I’ve been on both sides: the adtech side, and the publisher’s side, of the particular part of this story that I want to talk about. Several … Continue reading PageFair statement at European Parliament ALDE shadow rapporteurs session on the proposed ePrivacy Regulation

Supporting new European data regulation

Unusually for an ad-tech company, PageFair supports the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. Here is why. [x_alert type="success"]Additional note (11 May 2017): our position concerns the proposal's impact on online behavioural advertising (OBA). Though there are kinks to work out, as we note in our recent statement to Parliament representatives, we strongly endorse the proposal's broad approach to OBA.[/x_alert]  The … Continue reading Supporting new European data regulation

Why the GDPR ‘legitimate interest’ provision will not save you

The “legitimate interest” provision in the GDPR will not save behavioral advertising and data brokers from the challenge of obtaining consent for personally identifiable data. As previous PageFair analysis illustrates, personally identifiable data (PII) will become toxic except where it has been obtained and used with consent once the General Data Protection Regulation is applied in May 2018. Even so, many advertising intermediaries believe that they can continue to use PII data without consent because of an apparent carve-out related to “legitimate interest” contained in the GDPR. This is a false hope.

European Commission proposal will kill 3rd party cookies

The 3rd-party cookie - the lifeblood of online advertising - may be about to die.  A proposal this month from the European Commission to reform the ePrivacy Directive (ePD) requires mandatory privacy options and educates users to distinguish between 1st and 3rd-parties in a way that will make 3rd-party cookies extinct. [prompt type="left" title="Access the GDPR/ePR repository" message="A repository … Continue reading European Commission proposal will kill 3rd party cookies

Ten Key Things That Happened in Q4

Amid the blizzard of press releases and conference tidbits concerning media, advertising, and adblocking, only some really matter. Here are the ten key things that happened in Q4. OCTOBER 1. US Department of Justice examines possible agency shenanigans.  It transpired that the US Department of Justice had launched an investigation into rigged bids that unfairly favored … Continue reading Ten Key Things That Happened in Q4

Europe’s new privacy regime will disrupt the adtech Lumascape

In a year and a half, new European rules on the use of personal information will disrupt advertising and media across the globe. Here are the three biggest impacts.  Since 1996 when cookies were first repurposed to track users around the Web there has been an assumption that gathering and trading users' personal information is the essence of advertising online. This is about to change.

Eight Things From Q3 Worth Knowing

Now, ten days into October, we have had time to digest on the events of the last quarter. As is ever the case with history, only some of the headlines of the last three months will have any lingering impact. But of all the events in the past three months the following eight are worth … Continue reading Eight Things From Q3 Worth Knowing

Publishers – your only weapon is trust

Adblocking—and publisher responses to it—sit at the nexus of two trends: the increasing value of trust in the publisher-consumer relationship, and the emerging conditions of the new information market. The Internet turns many types of information that were once scarce and expensive into overabundant—and therefore cheap—commodities. By corollary, trust and attention have become increasingly valuable. In short: As information becomes cheap, trust becomes precious.

Global stakeholders discuss new approach to the Blocked Web

From late 2015 onward PageFair drew together global consumer groups, advertisers, agencies, publishers and browsers for senior level roundtable discussions on adblocking. These were held at The Financial Times, at Mozilla, and at MEC Global. The most recent roundtable was organised by both PageFair and Digital Content Next. Participants at the PageFair roundtables included the World … Continue reading Global stakeholders discuss new approach to the Blocked Web

Four big ideas emerge from PageFair global stakeholder roundtable

A growing segment of Web users sees few or no ads. Publishers are suffering mounting revenue losses as a result. But even as blocking of advertising harms publishers it also undoes the mistakes of the first 20 years of advertising on the Web. Several vendors including PageFair have the technology to display ads in a … Continue reading Four big ideas emerge from PageFair global stakeholder roundtable

The start of something to save publishers on the open Web

In July I wrote on this blog that "online advertising is destroying itself". That was two days before I joined PageFair and started to work on the problem. Earlier this month (September) I organised a meeting of global publishing leaders in the boardroom of The Financial Times to consider how best to address ad blocking. The … Continue reading The start of something to save publishers on the open Web

Online advertising is destroying itself.

Online advertising is destroying itself. And it is doing so in a way that will fatally undermine online publishers' sustainability. Increasingly brash formats and data snooping by online advertisers are driving millions of people to sever publishers’ revenue lifelines by blocking all advertising. The outlook is very bleak indeed. Publishers’ are desperate to extract revenues from … Continue reading Online advertising is destroying itself.

Help me write a kids book that explains the digital age

- So, I’m working on a new project. And I’d like your help with it. A few years ago I wrote a fairly detailed history of the Internet’s development, from the earliest days of networking to the present. That book had hundreds of footnotes, involved reading hundreds of technical documents, and gave me an excuse … Continue reading Help me write a kids book that explains the digital age

Design discussion with IDEO.org, 3fE, and Irish Design 2015

I spoke about design with John Collery (IDEO.org), Colin Harmon (3fE), and Laura Magahy (Irish Design 2015) in Dublin recently. Here are the highlights. As I wrote last year in The Irish Times, a happy customer is an extraordinary thing. So extraordinary that this first moment of happiness with a service can be a prelude … Continue reading Design discussion with IDEO.org, 3fE, and Irish Design 2015

Design matters for business, for startups

Originally appeared in The Irish Times on 7 November 2014. Full story is at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/find-your-niche-and-put-focus-on-design-1.1991105  A report by Sir George Cox for the UK Treasury in 2005 started with definitions of three key ingredients that could enhance business competitiveness: creativity, innovation, and design. Creativity, Cox said, is the inception of new ideas, approaches to problems or … Continue reading Design matters for business, for startups

What start-ups need is proof, not passion

I wrote this article for The Irish Times. Full story is at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/what-start-ups-need-is-proof-not-passion-1.1949565. After the dotcom bust, entrepreneurs came to realise the untested hunch was no longer adequate. In 1999, the start-up Webvan launched in the US with the intention of becoming the grocery service for online shoppers. It climbed to a multibillion dollar valuation at … Continue reading What start-ups need is proof, not passion

Designing services for smarter business

I wrote this article on service design for The Irish Times, published on 5 September 2014. Article is at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/designing-services-for-smarter-business-1.1916748 The Apple user or Nespresso drinker appreciates not only the physical good, but the entire experience of interacting with the business A customer’s relationship with a service is often unpleasant and short. But occasionally something … Continue reading Designing services for smarter business

Sustainable growth, not disruption

An edited version of this piece appears in The Irish Times , 1 August 2014 (online here) In defining the criteria by which the judges of The Startup Academy will adjudicate which companies would be accepted into the programme we have done something radical. Normally a competitive process like this might select only the startups … Continue reading Sustainable growth, not disruption

Design Thinking, and thinking like a child, for product design

This is a slightly shortened piece I wrote for The Irish Times on Design Thinking in organisations. Full article is here http://www.irishtimes.com/business/bring-design-thinking-to-your-product-1.1822064 Bring design thinking to your product Thinking like a child could save your business cash US technology investor Dave McClure coined a maxim that sums this challenge up: “Your solution is not my problem.” … Continue reading Design Thinking, and thinking like a child, for product design

Lean Startup Strategy. Not just for startups.

I spoke to Steve Blank, Alex Osterwalder, and the man who coined "Lean", John Krafcik. Here is what they said. This article appeared in The Irish Times 2 May 2014 see link.  “U should apply Lean Start-up Strategy in everything u do. Even ur personal & love relationship. Think about it & makes sense.” Thus tweeted … Continue reading Lean Startup Strategy. Not just for startups.

Press: “Innovation Academy UCD appoints Dr. Johnny Ryan as Executive Director”

Dublin, 8 April 2014:  The Innovation Academy, UCD, today announced that it has appointed Dr Johnny Ryan as Executive Director.  In his new role Dr. Ryan will take responsibility for the execution of the strategic mission and expansion of the Academy, and management of core operations including staff, programmes, and commercial operations. Dr. Ryan joins the … Continue reading Press: “Innovation Academy UCD appoints Dr. Johnny Ryan as Executive Director”

New role

---- Note: When I wrote this post two years ago I did not complete it. Probably I was preoccupied by taking up the new role. I publish it now with the caveat that this is an early draft, long and meandering. The reader has been warned. ---- Oscar mike. I'm on the move, and taking … Continue reading New role

Big Data R&D for the newsroom

As the ratio between quantity of available information and our capacity to absorb it changes, we must be more selective.