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The companies have till the end of the year to make changes to how they operate.

In an update to a review of programmatic advertising, UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) noted that, in its current form, real-time bidding (RTB) “presents a number of challenges” to data protection. However, ICO identified RTB as an “innovative” means of delivering ads but has observed the “unlawful” use of consumer data.

Simon McDougall, executive director at ICO noted that the explicit consent needed to use sensitive consumer data (as required by the data protection law) was not being sought. Additionally, ICO observed that the adtech industry “appears immature in its understanding of data protection requirements”.

Adtech companies are advised to make changes to the way they operate until the year’s end. The privacy regulator would then consider whether its concerns still hold and judge the need for further action.

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