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Media Review #21: TCF Action Freeze, Big Tech Antitrust Update, SDA Buy-Side Analysis, and Other News

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Last Updated on: 24th May 2024, 08:58 pm

In this Media Review, you can read 6 stories, including big tech antitrust update, Meta letting users opt out of some targeted ads (and only in selected countries), and ramping the FLEDGE origin trial back up and launching isolated experiments.

Table of Contents:

IAB Europe Obtains Suspension of TCF Action Plan Implementation Due to Ongoing Proceedings – IAB Europe

= The data protection authority (ADP) is reported to suspend the 6 months implementation period for the action plan to bring IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework into compliance with the EU’s GDPR. 

= The reason for that, as the author outlines, is the Court of Justice of the EU is still reviewing a few outstanding points (data controllership in TCF in light of the GDPR) and whether or not TC String, a digital signal containing user preferences, should be interpreted as personal data.

Utah Senator Mike Lee Introduces (Yet Another) Antitrust Bill Targeting Ad Tech – AdExchanger

= Sen. Mike Lee introduces Advertising Middlemen Endangering Rigorous Internet Competition Accountability (AMERICA) Act antitrust bill, as AdExchanger informs, which aims at large tech platforms offering technology across the ad tech ecosystem: buy-side and sell-side. The bill assumes forcing companies with digital ads revenues of over $20 B  to divest “conflicting” parts of their businesses and with over $5 B to disclose the revenue streams of their individual business units.

= At the same time, Google files to the court for a dismissal of the DOJ’s ad tech suit. It claims that the market in the case is too narrowly defined (it doesn’t include Google’s key competitors, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Tiktok, Meta), which causes failure to meet the legal thresholds for alleging a monopoly. On top of that, as AdExchanger mentions, Google points out that the DOJ didn’t raise any concerns when the acquisitions in question (of DoubleClick and Admeld) initially took place 15 and 12 years ago.

Buyers Won’t Bite On SDAs If Publishers Don’t Comply With Signal Requirements – AdExchanger

= RTB House is the first DSP to analyze Seller-Defined Audiences (SDA) and publish an early opinion piece about this solution, which is briefly summarized in AdExchanger, with the longer version available on RTB House’s blog.

= It is highlighted that in many instances, SDA signals sent to buyers were not aligned with the specification, which harmed their usability and security. These misalignments were caused by failing to provide key elements necessary for a usable signal, as well as passing many SDA signals in parallel to other user IDs, which could potentially enhance fingerprinting practices.

= At the same time, the author points out that SDA is already present in many received bid requests and utilizes the most well-known taxonomies (IAB Tech Lab’s Content and Audience Taxonomies), which bodes well for future scale and unification.

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Ramping FLEDGE origin trial back up and launching isolated experiments – Google Chromium forum

= Google reports bringing previously decreased FLEDGE origin trial traffic from 4% to 5% of Chrome Stable starting on March 13. It also communicated that a new, isolated experiment for FLEDGE + Fenced Frames API is to be created with an additional 1% of new Stable traffic for the purpose of better observations.

= In another announcement, Google reported a new partnership with Fastly, which is going to provide Oblivious HTTP (OHTTP) relay feature for FLEDGE’s k-anonymity server. K-anonymity is a minimum requirement of k users per creative within the previous 7 days for FLEDGE to render the ad. In other words, a creative can only be displayed to a user if it has won the auction for at least k other users, in order to prevent micro-targeting. The text mentions that while k-anonymity is a key privacy protection element, it cannot be processed on the user’s device as it has to keep count of multiple different users. The cooperation with Fastly equips Google with an edge cloud platform that provides a secure proxy with OHTTP for that operation.

UK closes ‘Jedi Blue’ antitrust collusion case against Google and Meta – TechCrunch

= TechCrunch reports that CMA closes ‘Jedi Blue’ antitrust to allocate resources in better-documented cases. Jedi Blue alleged that Google and Meta had an agreement where Google would give Meta preferential treatment while Meta would refrain from building competing ad tech solutions and using header bidding. 

= This means that Meta is “off the hook” regarding Jedi Blue. However, the closed ends of the investigation against Google will be incorporated into the other existing antitrust case against it, which already treats matters such as alleged unfair header bidding practices.  

Meta to Let Users Opt Out of Some Targeted Ads, but only in Europe – Wall Street Journal

= Meta plans to let users opt out from highly personalized ads based on their in-app activity by submitting an online opt-out form, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is supposed to be a measure aimed at complying with the European Union privacy order ruled at the beginning of 2023.

= Furthermore, Meta changed their legal basis under the GDPR for collecting data for targeted advertising from a “contractual necessity” to a “legitimate interest.”

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