The General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), the rules that are shaping how marketers and publishers engage with digital consumers in the European Union, can offer useful guidelines for brand custodians as similar issues emerge in the US.

Townsend Feehan, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe, discussed this subject at the 2019 Annual Leadership Meeting held by the Interactive Advertising Bureau based in the United States.

“GDPR, right now, is an opportunity,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: IAB Europe head: GDPR also has a bright side for marketers.)

Elaborating on this theme, she argued the regulations – which significantly raise the bar around issues such as digital privacy and consent – can reset the relationship between marketers and consumers.

“It’s GDPR [that provided] the opportunity to land and control the transparency agenda,” said Feehan. “The basic proposition of GDPR is we give users information, they are empowered, and they [respond] to us.”

The privacy framework that takes shape, said Feehan, will ideally rest on providing consumers with the right information so they can reach meaningful decisions about issues like privacy.

“If you give users information,” she asked the IAB/US assembly, “is the information meaningful enough for them to make that choice that adequately protects their interests?”

Against that backdrop, she continued, “There's a school of thought that [says] if users don't know what they're consenting to, there's no amount of information that is enough information.”

With the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) representing a step towards enhanced privacy in the Golden State, and potentially sparking a wider shift nationwide, it is clear that marketing in the US could soon have new parameters too.

“You guys are struggling with: What's the right amount of transparency and control? And that's new for you,” Feehan told the IAB assembly in Phoenix, Arizona.

“The warning that I can bring from Brussels is that the conversation can get even more alarming and scary – to the point where informing the user is not enough,” with the justification that “users can't be trusted to make the right choices.”

Feehan’s conclusion: “Our big opportunity now, in GDPR, is to show that we can make it work; we can take all of these hard requirements and end up in a place where users are informed and are constantly making the right choices,” she said.

Sourced from WARC