Pressure On Brussels Following The New Online Privacy Rules

The recent rules regarding online privacy have made European publishers step up the pressure on Brussels. It was said that more power will be handed over digital advertising to Facebook and Google. Chief executives of over 30 publishing companies have outlined their concerns by writing to the European Parliament and European Council. This includes owners of the Guardian, Die Zeit, Daily Mail and Le Monde newspapers. It came ahead of a meeting that was to discuss the proposal that was made in January. It was purposely meant to update the European regulations that will introduce the concept of “privacy by design” as termed by the European Commission.

The changes made on the proposed privacy rules will allow users to opt out of cookies that trail the visited pages when individuals are browsing the internet. However, publishers say that this will impact negatively on their ability to show adverts to readers. The primary reason is that they anticipate the majority to go through the universal opt out in their browsers instead of opting back into cookies of regularly visited websites.

The letter shows the reason why most publishers are against this proposal. It states;

“If as a result of these proposals, news publishers were unable to serve relevant advertising to our readers, this would reduce our ability to compete with the capabilities of dominant digital platforms for digital advertising revenues. It ultimately undermines our ability to invest in high-quality journalism across Europe.”

The revenues from print advertising fall sharply around the world since most of the newspaper groups are under pressure. It was revealed last week by and that print advertising had reduced by 12% on its main titles in the past six months to the end of March.

They are also finding it difficult to offset the declines because the majority of internet advertising spend is being channeled towards the tech platforms. This stems down from the online advertising revenues generally affected by Google and Facebook. According to a recent research that was extracted from data analysis group Zenith, 20% of the entire global advertising spending was accounted for by the two companies. Brian Wieser, an analyst who works with the Pivotal Research in the US, says that over three-quarters of ad dollars received online flowed to Facebook and Google the previous year.

In their letter, the publishers added that the proposals made on cookies run against the sweep9ing General Data Protection Regulation. This was designed to hand more control to internet users over personal data. In addition, it is due to come into action in 2018. The privacy proposals laid down by the commission will diminish transparency if a single global permission was created within the interface of a browser. A few challenges will arise when making a distinction between publishers who highly value the trust of their users. The publishers also feel that there won’t be a meaningful user empowerment in practice.

“If a single global permission is created within the browser interface, the commission’s ePrivacy proposals will make it more difficult to ensure transparency and meaningful user empowerment in practice, and remove any distinction between publishers who place a high value on the trust of their users, and those who do not,” This was one of the long statements made by the European Publishers.

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