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Digital Publishers ‘Snub’ Google In GDPR Dispute

Let’s face it, GDPR has been a difficult time for almost every business, however, it seems that the saga continues past the May 25th deadline for commercial publisher companies.

According to The Drum, Google is having problems convincing a number of publishing trade bodies with concern to its renewed privacy policies in light of new GDPR regulations. The tech giant had invited trade groups to a meeting in New York on the 24th May, however, many were noticeably absent from discussions. The meeting was due to be cast to other major markets, such as London.

Google’s plan to ease concerns from digital publishers was to push a new series of additional tools it would release to help publishers, especially in regards to Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework. However, it’s thought that publishers in the UK including Trinity Mirror, News UK and the Guardian were not in attendance, as well as the likes of News Media alliance and Digital Content Next.

Instead, a group representing various bodies implored Google to instead answer an open letter posed several weeks before the GDPR deadline, which questioned the “legality or fairness” of the new privacy policy, in relation to the use of its DoubleClick tool. Google has repositioned itself as a ‘data controller’ post-GDPR, which means it has limited its ability to share any data garnered through its ad tools.

Lynne Anderson, the deputy chief executive of the News Media Association, said the organisation declined the meeting as it would have been “inappropriate” to attend in the circumstances: “In the interests of clarity and transparency, we do require a written response to our questions. Unfortunately discussions behind closed doors have not alleviated the confusion and concern across the industry over Google’s plans and the impact these may have on publishers,” she said.

Many other bodies, including News Media Alliance who counts the Los Angeles Times among its members, echoed these sentiments. Since GDPR came into effect, the Los Angeles Time, alongside a few other US news sites, have made themselves unavailable to the reader from within the EU.

While Google was unable to share the contents of the meeting with the media, Dave Grimaldi, executive vice-president of digital trade body the Interactive Advertising Bureau, who was in attendance, described the meeting as “productive”: “Highlighted challenges of complying with a law when so little guidance is available,” he wrote on his Twitter account. The new tools Google has promised are slated for introduction in June, then again in August.

In regards to this subject, the confusion and complexity seems to be the real concern for digital publishers, especially given the harsh penalties that come with the regulation. Fines as much as four per cent of company revenue have been threatened for violations, however, solicitors and EU officials have said that there will be a grace period after introduction of the regulation.

While GDPR has been in the works for a long time, and introduced back in 2016, many solicitors who have had to revise privacy policies, say that many companies left it until the last month to sort their GDPR compliance.