Is GDPR benefiting the giants over smaller European companies?
“Europe’s new data privacy law has put a small army of tech firms that track people online in jeopardy and is strengthening the hand of giants such as Google and Facebook in the $200 billion global digital advertising industry,” Reuters has reported.
The new legislation is, of course, the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which aims to protect the private information of individuals in the internet age. The internet allows companies to track and harvest a person’s internet use and use this information, often without them ever knowing anything about it.
GDPR, which was introduced on 25 May, is a complicated and far reaching piece of legislation that (amongst many other things) requires websites to obtain the explicit consent of customers to use their data. Companies that make a living out of harvesting, crunching and selling data have a major job on their hands.
According to the Reuters article, “While sites often request consent on behalf of the ad tech firms they use directly, uncertainty over whether every link in the supply chain is GDPR-compliant is pushing some to leave Europe altogether.
The question is, is this a good thing? The protection of personal information is without a doubt essential, and should in all cases be our first priority, but is putting smaller European companies out of business, or out of Europe altogether, to the benefit of giants like Google and Facebook really a good idea?
Reuters goes on to quote Mark Read of one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies, WPP, as saying, “It’s challenging for the digital ecosystem…But if consumers feel confident that their data is being protected and they understand how it is being used and it’s done with permission, ultimately that should be a good thing for clients and for us.”
Social scientists refer to the Law of Unintended Consequences, where an unanticipated outcome or unforeseen consequence from a deliberate action takes place. Is this, then, an "intended" consequence of European lawmakers?
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