Information Commissioner warns AdTech companies still ignoring its message

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has today issued a warning to those AdTech companies refusing to adhere to the changes that need to be made around data protection and real-time bidding (RTB).

Since the implementation of GDPR, the ICO has been in consultation with the AdTech market regarding their practices surrounding RTB. Currently, they are not satisfied that individual personal data will be secured. A June 2019 report from the watchdog flagged up a range of privacy issues, including the storage of personal data. 

Writing in a blog post, ICO Executive Director for Technology and Innovation Simon McDougall, who also led the consultation, said: "We are confident that any organisation that has not properly addressed these issues risks operating in breach of data protection law.

"This is a systemic problem that requires organisations to take ownership for their own data processing, and for industry to collectively reform RTB. We gave industry six months to work on the points we raised, and offered to continue to engage with stakeholders.

"The most effective way for organisations to avoid the need for further regulatory scrutiny or action is to engage with the industry reform and transformation, and to encourage their supply chain to do the same. I am both heartened at how much progress we have made, and disappointed that there are some who are still ignoring our message. Those who have ignored the window of opportunity to engage and transform must now prepare for the ICO to utilise its wider powers."

McDougall identified two actors who were making steps towards the necessary changes. The first was the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), who "is developing its own guidance for organisations on security, data minimisation, and data retention, as well as UK-focused guidance on the content taxonomy."

The other is Google, who "will remove content categories, and improve its process for auditing counterparties." He also mentioned Google's plans to remove support for third-party cookies.