Digital advertisers will wake up to a new dawn on May 25, one in which they had better tread carefully with how they use audience data – or risk a new penalty fine of up to 4% of global turnover.

The European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation updates prior consumer data protection rules in a significant way. Now any global company which handles EU citizens’ data must comply with a new and more stringent set of demands, including:

  • tighter consent conditions for the collection of citizens’ data.
  • consumers can instruct companies to stop processing their data.
  • automated decision-making and profiling decisions must be made clear.
  • consumers can request decisioning by automated processes be stopped and handled by a human instead.
  • they have the right to request an explanation of automated decision-making.
  • they can request free access, rectification and deletion of data.

That seems to pose a challenge to the new world of advertising that is hyper-charged by the new oil of consumer data. The boss of the world’s largest ad agency holding group certainly thinks so – but Sir Martin Sorrell understands why.

“It does make things much more intricate and much more complicated, but understandably so … with the sort of things that have been going on in relation to consumer brand safety or what I call ‘political brand safety’,” the WPP CEO says in this video interview with Beet.TV.

By ‘political brand safety’, Sorrell is referring to alleged interference in elections by foreign state actors. This was far from the reason the European Commission proposed the GDPR several years ago, but the point, he argues, is that the world is waking up to sophisticated uses of audience data.

“The problem is the regulators never keep up with technological development,” Sorrell adds. “And we’ve got three decisions in Europe in relation to Google, one of which has been given by the director general in the EU, and there are two more decisions to be made.

“So (there are) lots of regulatory things to happen. And I think all of the big seven as I call them, the seven sisters (tech companies) all understand that, with their size and with their power and with their success … comes a responsibility, too.”

This video is part of our series on the preparation and anticipated impact GDPR on the digital media world.  The series is presented by CriteoPlease visit this page for additional segments.