A German-led alliance of media, e-commerce and ISP businesses is launching a “unified consumer login product”, to give consumers control of their online privacy settings.

The product, which will be available in two weeks’ time, according to Digiday, has been designed to respond to new data privacy and content laws, now far stricter under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Users will be able to create a login and manage their privacy settings, which can then be used automatically across different partner sites.

“This is the European market’s last chance to change this [imbalance],” said Sven Bornemann, former board member of Germany’s online marketers’ association AGOF, who has been appointed CEO.

“With the dominance of Google and Facebook, user data is drifting away to the walled gardens and leaving the German market, meaning publishers and agencies aren’t able to use that data anymore.”

German broadcasters Prosiebensat.1 and RTL group, along with the ISP United Internet formed the alliance last year.

They have now grown to a partnership of 20 companies, including publishers Spiegel, Gruner+Jahr, and Ippen Digital, along with the national newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung.

E-commerce companies Otto Group, C&A, Zalando, Conrad Elektronik, Douglas, Scout24, and the parcel service DPD are also involved, along with media agencies GroupM Germany and Pilot Gruppe.

The unified ID system will be overseen by the not-for-profit European NetID Foundation, set up by the alliance.

The EU’s new ePrivacy regulation, which is separate to GDPR and due to come into force some time next year, has been dubbed the “cookie law”, and will drastically cut the ability of third parties to use tracking cookies.

This legislation, along with moves such as the introduction by Apple of anti-tracking additions in its Safari browser, has added to the view that third-party cookies will soon become a thing of the past. (For more, read WARC’s Trend Snapshot: Post-cookie identity management.)

“Third-party cookies are losing their importance,” said Bornemann. “Long before the ePrivacy law will start, the browser industry will have killed the third-party cookie.”

This meant, he added, that publishers and the digital market will no longer be able to follow or identify the online user.

Although the alliance is currently made up of German companies, the plan is to add new partners across Europe.

Sourced from Digiday; additional content by WARC staff