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

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.

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.

New project: Prevent national health crises by mining public discussion and news to predict vaccination uptake

Prevent national health crises by mining public discussion and news to predict vaccination uptake This is the proposal that I submitted yesterday to the Knight Foundation health data challenge. See the proposal, and vote on it if you like it, at the Knight News Challenge. Vaccines matter. We want to predict uptake by mining news … Continue reading New project: Prevent national health crises by mining public discussion and news to predict vaccination uptake

Silicon Republic interview: innovation at The Irish Times

I had an opportunity to set out what we are doing at The Irish Times in innovation, research, and working with startups. http://vimeo.com/66916581 (Hat tip to John Kennedy of Silicon Republic for letting me copy the video to video to display here.)

Advertising’s historic pivot point

This is a piece I originally published in Contagious.An understandable malaise in ad agencies surrounds all things digital. Low revenues on the one hand and a new answerability to metrics on the other are accompanied by a sense that digital formats remain largely underdeveloped, and that new, possibly unwelcome, surprises await. This is a moment … Continue reading Advertising’s historic pivot point

Startup networking at a 153 year old media company

If a 153 year old newspaper is to adapt, to experiment, and take useful risks, it makes sense to work with startups. Since The Irish Times' initial eight week experiment in 2012, both the NYT and the BBC have followed with their own ways of incubating early stage digital businesses. But beyond incubation there is … Continue reading Startup networking at a 153 year old media company

Links are sacred (links, newspapers, and copyright)

This is my op ed in The Irish Times, 7 January 2013. In the early 1960s a Harvard graduate student named Ted Nelson developed the idea of ‘hypertext’, a system of digitised links between tidbits of information that would transcend the limitations of printed paper. The idea was wildly ambitious. A user could click various … Continue reading Links are sacred (links, newspapers, and copyright)

The 2012 tech topic, and a guess at the topic of 2013…

A brief note: I was asked to think about the hot topic in tech for 2012, and make a prediction for the hot topic of 2013 by Corriere della sera, an Italian newspaper. It might seem passé, but I think the hot topic of 2012 has been mobile Internet.  The ITU disclosed in June 2012 that mobile‐broadband … Continue reading The 2012 tech topic, and a guess at the topic of 2013…

Week One: The Irish Times Digital Challenge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A_zI4oMWwM I PREVIOUSLY POSTED THIS ON THE HUFFINGTON POST. RE POSTED HERE. Some months ago I set up The Irish Times Digital Challenge to invite digital entrepreneurs to propose ways to work with The Irish Times. Almost 81 early stage digital companies applied, of which 14 were invited to pitch in person. From this a … Continue reading Week One: The Irish Times Digital Challenge

Startups and The Irish Times

The Irish Times is a media company with a long history. To get a sense of this reflect on the fact that it was already half a century old when one of its printing presses was burnt down during the 1916 Rising, when the rebels used its massive rolls of newsprint as barricades. In 1994, … Continue reading Startups and The Irish Times

5 rules: the smallest element of participation is now the individual node.

Speaking in Oslo in 2011

Video of a talk I gave in Oslo at the Norwegian Annual Communications/PR Forum "5 rules for PR in the digital era".

The Internet makes trust and insight scarce commodities, and makes newsroom veterans more valuable

Recently I have been looking at the newspaper as a service and as a business (for reasons that will become apparent later). Something is becoming clear. While the Internet makes information plentiful, and this in turn may be a challenge to some aspects of the newspaper business, deep insight and trust remain as scarce as … Continue reading The Internet makes trust and insight scarce commodities, and makes newsroom veterans more valuable

Interview on the history + future of the Net

Jerry Brito, a tech thinker and writer for Time Magazine interviewed me about my recent book, A history of the Internet and the digital future as part of his 'Surprisingly Free' podcast series with techies. Jerry has an interesting background: he's an academic, but he has also lead some interesting projects - see below - … Continue reading Interview on the history + future of the Net

Owjo may be about to save Jaron Lanier’s “lost generation” of musicians, and put Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans in charge of distribution

Owjo may be about to save Jaron Lanier's "lost generation" of musicians, and put Kevin Kelly's 1,000 True Fans in charge of distribution.

Plastic information, niche audiences, extruded media, and network governance

De Filosoof (The Philosopher), a journal edited by graduate students and faculty at the University of Utrecht, asked me to respond to some searching questions. Three are copied below [note: this is unedited draft text]... From the very beginning Internet has challenged social, intellectual and political hierarchies. RFC 3, released in April 1969, ‘established the … Continue reading Plastic information, niche audiences, extruded media, and network governance

Strategies for the music industry – I’m featured in India’s ‘Business & Economy’

The current edition of Business & Economy (apparently "India's most influential business and economy magazine") features a piece on "Global music industry: is this the end or a new beginning? A musical paradox". The upshot is that declining sales of albums and slowing digital downloads mean that it must embrace innovative business models or go … Continue reading Strategies for the music industry – I’m featured in India’s ‘Business & Economy’

Social Music Remix

Based on some ideas in my book, and a piece I wrote with Dr Allegre Hadida in BusinessWeek ("One way to save the music industry") in July last year, we have submitted to the ReThink Music business model competition. Allegre is an academic at the Judge School of Business in Cambridge. ReThink Music is run … Continue reading Social Music Remix

My talk at Google EU HQ on fairuse

I spoke at Google last Friday (19 November 2010) on fairuse and the need for the law to adapt to leverage the benefits of the Internet. The event was chaired by TJ McIntyre of Digital Rights Ireland.

Business & Finance article: The end of the media industry – Extruded Content

We live at a hinge in history, between the assumptions of the industrial era on the one hand and the digital era on the other. The industrial revolution created a world of centralization and organized hierarchy. Its defining pattern was a single, central dot to which all strands led. But the emerging digital age is … Continue reading Business & Finance article: The end of the media industry – Extruded Content

Apple Marketing

I'm getting worried that Apple could sell me... to myself. Here's how _____________________________ Announcing the iME from Apple.   What is it? Well, it starts when you start wearing elegant white or charcoal clothing. Then you have a general feeling of aloofness and only partial compatibility with your fellow human beings. You'll quickly get used … Continue reading Apple Marketing

Business Week Op Ed “One Way to Save the Music Industry”

One Way to Save the Music Industry, Business Week, 29 July 2010 By Johnny Ryan and Allègre L. Hadida Given the persistence of digital music piracy, a new subscription-creation model borrowed from online gaming could aid ailing record labels Does the answer to music retailing's collapse lie within the computer game industry? Global music revenues … Continue reading Business Week Op Ed “One Way to Save the Music Industry”