40 years ago only a fraction of the world’s population had access to the internet, it was unimaginable how much everything was going to change with the advancement of technology.
In these modern times, the corporate battleground has moved online and the current forefront appears to be in an advertisement with the tech industries big names making huge sums of their revenues from advertisements. We can see it ourselves every day, if you use something that is free you should wonder how an entity can sustain itself. The classic saying is that if you do not pay for the product that is because you are the product that is quite true these days. Big tech has currently got the eyes of the world regulators watching them at the moment with hearings before Congress and European anti-monopoly watchdogs crawling over the activities of these firms trying to decide if they hold too much power and whether they need legislating back into shape in some cases even breaking up. Google has been sued by the US department of justice for having a search monopoly. But as judges around the world try to come to balanced and fair conclusions the question arises as to the existing legal framework and whether it is enough.
Europe and Data
The IAB (the pan-European body) has recently expressed disappointment with the fact that the APD-GBA (Belgium regulator) report sought to enforce action against a set of best practice guidelines rather than open dialogue between the parties that could have them rewritten. A big part of the significance here comes from the fact that the Belgian regulator is the lead regulator for data protection in Europe. It signals that there is a serious concern as to the quality of the best practice guidelines and that critics disdain for loopholes needs to be taken more seriously. Specifically, the regulator found that the best practice guidelines were in breach of the GDPR law. The UK has decided that after Brexit the EU’s GDPR legislation will be mimicked in UK law. The message sent out particularly resonates as recently in 2019 the IAB rewrote its best practice guidelines in response to criticism from academics and privacy groups complaining about its weakness. One such complaint is that advertisers are able to swap vast amounts of extremely private and personal information without any form of authorization. One possible gap for legislation where a case can easily make is for the ban of real-time bidding from advertisers as for this bid to happen the companies need access to what somebody is reading, listening, and watching which is a blatant breach of GDPR.
But with the dominance and size of these big firms, it may seem daunting for anyone to think there are ways around them or alternatives to their products that will be effective at promoting their products and services. The reality is that you can simply get real youtube views from Marketing Heaven to name just one inexpensive solution to a seemingly costly necessity of business. The focus it could be predicted is not going to move away from data-driven targeting of users and their digital footprints but back to a more ethical way of promoting from within. The EU is way ahead of many parts of the globe so it may be hard without more global support to fight the money behind this industry. Even in the absence of any new regulation, many companies may just see it as unethical to get involved in traditional data tracking methods of targeted advertising.