back to article Ad-tech industry: GDPR complaint is like holding road builders to account for traffic violations

A war of words – in the form of automotive analogies – has erupted between privacy advocates and the Interactive Advertising Bureau over a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) complaint filed over ad exchanges. The complaint alleged information slurped on internet users and processed through Real-Time Bidding (RTB) …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How we view this in the USA

    "Gun's don't kill people, Illegal Immigrants Kill People"

    Now before you all jump up and down about this I should like to point out that the statement is correct ... Illegal Immigrants started arriving in the country on the Mayflower and slaughtered about 80% of Americans over the next 250 years. My point is that you can always bend the view and interpretation of general rules to suit your personal viewpoint - it's never our problem, it's always your problem these days.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: How we view this in the USA

      And I believe it is said that these pale skinned invaders managed to caused global temperatures to drop as a result of the killing off of 90% of the natives. Although I don't think it was slaughter but rather disease that did it. Thank the Lord Trump doesn't believe in global warming. One would hate to think what would happen if he took the opinion of experts seriously and decided he would try to fix climate change.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: How we view this in the USA

      You should have used a 'troll' image.

      You do realize that even the 'American Indian' was actually an immigrant too.

      Just saying and keeping it real.

      Using the alien because as we all know... Homo-sapiens wiped out the indigenous people that the pan dimensional folks created as part of their Deep Thought experiment. That's an Arthur Dent reference if you aren't up on your Science Fiction...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: How we view this in the USA

        You are only an immigrant if another people is already occupying the land. You are an immigrant TO another country, an emigrant FROM another country.

        The first so-called "American Indians"[0] were pioneers, not immigrants.

        [0] "Indigenous people" is a better term for them as a whole, but I much prefer to call them by the name they give themselves.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How we view this in the USA

          I have it from MANY sources and individuals that North American people who were here before Europeans currently want to be referred to as "The First Americans"

          So that's how I call them.

        2. Carpet Deal 'em

          Re: How we view this in the USA

          > "Indigenous people" is a better term for them as a whole, but I much prefer to call them by the name they give themselves.

          "Indigenous people" is far broader, anyway: it simply refers to the first people to inhabit any given area. It can be easy to ignore, though, since most of the world has either had the indigenous people of the area completely eradicated or still dominant.

          "(American) Indian", on the other hand, is pretty specific in that it refers to the indigenous peoples of the current contiguous United States.

        3. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: How we view this in the USA

          American Indians were not the first people living in North America, they arrived in a later wave. Genetic data suggests that there have been at least three waves of migration to the Americas prior to Europeans arriving.

          1. shawnfromnh

            Re: How we view this in the USA

            the first were likely the ones that had those tombs 1000'd of years old in the Chilean mountains.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: How we view this in the USA

      "Illegal Immigrants started arriving in the country on the Mayflower"

      Citation required. Please state the law that was broken thus defining them as "illegal" immigrants.

      They were certainly immigrants, but I'm not sure any of the locals had laws preventing anyone else from coming in.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: How we view this in the USA

        So if someone walks into your house and they proceed to steal everything and kill you, and your children, then you think that's OK because you said, "Welcome"?

  2. JohnFen Silver badge

    The IAB's position makes sense

    They are, after all, a horrible organization representing a coalition of companies who don't give two shits about the harm they're doing as long as they can keep raking in the money.

  3. cbars
    FAIL

    Making a car without seat belts is against the law. So is spaffing personal data (finally!).

    Making a road that doesn't comply with safety standards is against the law (for example without crash barriers or white lines).

    The car makers, in this analogy, are the companies creating the advertisements that fill this advertising space. Not the people spaffing data everywhere contrary to the law. Quiet down and take your medicine.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry Big Biz

    Your paid for MP will soon be able to introduce a bill to remove GDPR from UK legislation.

    Then it will be a literal free for all and you can get back to those mega profits /s /s /s

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't worry Big Biz

      Assuming there is no WTO exit, Brexit is unlikely to save the ad-flinders. They’ll have 2+ years of GDPR before they even get the chance to wine and dine their tame politicians.

      While a lot of focus has been on Facebook and Google for obvious reasons, these are the companies that are going to be hit hardest and arguably worse. Yes...I’m serious...at least Google and Facebook have the money to potentially comply with GDPR rulings.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Don't worry Big Biz

        "these are the companies that are going to be hit hardest and arguably worse"

        Thanks to their obnoxious tracking and other practices, not many tears will be shed.

  5. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

    Collective Authority

    Ultimately, the decision will come down to the three data protection agencies – in the UK, Ireland and Poland – considering the challenges.

    How does this tournament work...Best two out of three agencies for the win?

    1. Remy Redert

      Re: Collective Authority

      It's individual competitions. Lose any of them and pay through the nose for it.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Collective Authority

        Likely they will loose all of them. GDPR is quite explicit. The head in the sand defense isn't likely to get them very far.

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Collective Authority

          Not even so much a defence but the "nu-uh!" phase that comes right before "Mooooom!"

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Collective Authority

      "How does this tournament work...Best two out of three agencies for the win?"

      Whichever race finishes first will set guidance/precedence for the remaining ones.

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A pox on all advertisers.

    I see how it's supposed to work but yet I get ads for companies on the east coast of the US but I live on the west side.

    Obviously (or maybe probably as it hasn't been proven) the IAB and thus the ad agencies already have our info on file . IP addy is part and parcel to the "Net" so does the IAB and the ad companies really need to keep collecting more info? Just because the law says they can't collect it any more doesn't mean they will destroy what they already have or not use it. After all, the Internet is Forever.

    For the analogy, I moved a year ago and am still getting snail mail ads for the previous owners even though I mark them "not at this address" and sent it back. I'm also getting new snail mail ads addressed to me even though I've never done business with any of these companies.

    1. Remy Redert

      Re: A pox on all advertisers.

      The law says you can't have that information, so any information you already have is now illegal.

  7. Lith
    FAIL

    The "it's not our fault that people use our obviously meant to be illegal tools illegally" shall henceforth be know as the "Pirate Bay" defence.

    1. Graham Cobb

      Betamax case

      It is already better known as the "Betamax" defence: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Corp._of_America_v._Universal_City_Studios,_Inc.

      No one has ever suggested that video recorders were developed for any purpose other than recording TV, but they are legal because they are "capable of substantial noninfringing uses".

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Betamax case

        No one has ever suggested that video recorders were developed for any purpose other than recording TV, but they are legal because they are "capable of substantial noninfringing uses".

        And some of those non-infringing uses also requires recording TV. Time-shifting, that is, recording something on TV that you aren't currently watching to watch later, is perfectly legal and one of those non-infringing uses that makes use of the recording TV capability.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @Lith - The Betamax decision said that a product is legal if it had legitimate uses regardless if there are potentially illegal uses. I do not think it is relevant here. One it is a US Nine Seniles decision so it is only important in the US. Also, they are running afoul of the GPDR legislation in the EU. Under the GPDR a company is responsible for how much data is collected and how it is protected.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Highway authority? More like the highwaymen's trade association.

    1. shawnfromnh

      of course the highway association, they're expert on the Hershey highway for decades now and my ass is sore from it all. At least give me a coupon for some KY as you ream me with your ads please.

  9. Crisp Silver badge

    Advertisers and Salespeople

    Have there ever been a more slimy bunch?

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: Advertisers and Salespeople - YES

      Politicians and Lawyers make Advertisers and Salespeople seem innocent.

    2. julian.smith

      Re: Advertisers and Salespeople

      Republicans

      NRA

      ....

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Advertisers and Salespeople

      I would also had Insurers, bankers and 90% of mechanics.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I would also had Insurers, bankers and 90% of mechanics.

        I would attempt to refute that comment working for an insurance company as I do. But given I consider its a good day when I don't slip up on the slime left by the sales and underwriter's I really cant.

  10. VinceH Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    But the IAB has hit back, saying that the complaint is "fundamentally misdirected" at IAB Europe, likening it to holding road builders accountable for people speeding or parking illegally.

    You didn't build the fucking roads. You're just private contractors who are putting obstructions in the road to slow traffic in order to do what you're conning local businesses into paying you to do - and as the slowed traffic passes your obstruction, you're peeking inside the fucking cars, and abusing the knowledge of what you see.

  11. paulll

    ""Nor can it be considered to prove or demonstrate that any companies making use of those taxonomies are doing so without complying with applicable EU data protection or other law," IAB Europe said."

    Made by blood boil, probably the single most disingenuous thing I've ever heard.

  12. LDS Silver badge

    Road builder? They are just like those putting ad panels along highways and renting them

    However ads panels in some countries are regulated - i.e. here in Italy you can't put ad panes along highways and other main roads - because drivers must not be distracted while driving. And there are other limitations about what you can display on ad panels and how. And who rents the ads space could be liable as well if it doesn't abide to the rules. I don't think, for example, they could install plate readers into panels to identify who passes in front of them, and how often, and at what speed, and then sell those data to customer buying the ads space.

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Road builder? They are just like those putting ad panels along highways and renting them

      "I don't think, for example, they could install plate readers into panels to identify who passes in front of them, and how often, and at what speed, and then sell those data to customer buying the ads space."

      For gods' sake; DON'T GIVE THEM IDEAS!!!!!!!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Road builder? They are just like those putting ad panels along highways and renting them

      "here in Italy you can't put ad panes along highways and other main roads"

      Similar rules apply here in the UK. The workaround is to put adverts on the side of old and defunct truck trailers and "park" them in nearby farmers fields.

  13. James 47

    The OpenRTB spec is freely available. Pretty much every field in the json is 'optional', there's no requirement that it all gets sent.

    The IAB doesn't release any tools that can be misused, they only issue guidelines really.

    This is nothing more than a publicity drive for the complainants.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      @James 47

      Optional means very little.

      I see huge amounts of APIs where 1 or more (often lots) fields are optional.

      When I look at usage of those APIs invariably the optional fields get populated, typically with the mindset of "even if we don't directly use it now we might in future and / or it could be useful in data analysis to improve our algorithms". There has been a long ingrained culture of grabbing and storing as much data as possible, the only way to stop it is to prevent that data being sent.

      .. Not that "targeted" ads work well anyway - so a lot of slurpage is counter productive - lots of adverts for something I have recently purchased (and is the type of item I will not be likely to purchase again for a long time (e.g. fridge, oven etc.) is just irritating (but shows that detailed content data on pages I have been visited is used (arguably abused) by ad slingers: I am not affected by ad slingers seeing the tedious home appliance, IT etc. web pages I visit (but object in principle) - but plenty of people will be visiting sites that deal with potentially sensitive health, political, religious etc areas & it's really not a good thing that ad slingers can gather such knowledge (e.g. many countries have nasty approach to non heterosexual behaviour, ad slingers selling on their "inferred" LGBT lists to such countries could have unpleasant consequences for those listed)

  14. Down not across

    Simple solution

    ""Nor can it be considered to prove or demonstrate that any companies making use of those taxonomies are doing so without complying with applicable EU data protection or other law," IAB Europe said."

    Collecting sensitive data in the first place should just be banned. Unless there is obvious real reason for it, which advertising is not. The bloodsucking parasites shouldn't be allowed to harvest that kind of sensitive data. The usual hoarding is bad enough as it is.

  15. shawnfromnh

    I'm wondering with the new privacy laws that sharing information at all or having 3rd party cookies should be totally banned across the board. If a cookie can ID someone then it should be forbidden and a fine levied for each cookie. Hell how about having just regular ads, no cookies, and all ad/marketers banned from collecting information on people on websites. There ads don't work anyways since most people like me can totally ignore or close them in a moment so it's just tossed away money in my eyes. An ad though that is not irritating and is about something that interests me like a computer part might get me to click it but an ad about most other stuff is just taking up space on my TV screen where I could be looking at content contentedly.

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