Privacy and data protection regulations impact the work of every advertising, marketing and PR communications professional around the globe, and the focus on privacy by consumers and regulators continues to increase. W2O’s team is tracking the most important news and changes that directly influence our industry, including the latest on legislation, new privacy technology, enforcement actions, analysis and thought leadership in privacy and data protection.

Here’s the news we’re paying attention to right now.

  1. German Data Protection Authorities Create Fine Model – The German Datenschutzkonferenz (DSK), Germany’s joint data protection body, recently released a new model for calculating fines associated with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The model is quite complex, with 24 pages of official explanation, and is likely to result in more frequent large fines near the top end of GDPR limits.

    Main Takeaway – While it is not yet clear if the high fines under the DSK model will be considered proportionate, large corporations that process large quantities of data – and particularly those that process sensitive data – should ensure their data protection and breach response programs are as robust and complete as possible.

2. Google Moves to Acquire FitBit, Raising Privacy Issues – Google’s multi-billion-dollar acquisition of FitBit will give it access to a variety of new personal health information. Google has stated it will not use Fitbit data for targeting ads, and privacy advocates are expressing concerns that the data could be used for other purposes. This acquisition will also likely increase federal and state regulators’ scrutiny of Alphabet for potential antitrust violations.

Main TakeawayGoogle has caused numerous privacy concerns over the last decade, due to excessive tracking and exposed data, which has eroded consumer trust. Brands that embrace data privacy and protection principles are building trust and getting ahead of their competitors. Marketers should consider data privacy a fundamental component of their key value proposition.

3. Another Federal Privacy Bill Proposed – A new federal privacy bill proposal from two California House Representatives would lead to the creation of a new Digital Privacy Agency to enforce rights. The bill, in some ways similar to the GDPR, would give consumers rights of access, correction and deletion. It would also prohibit the use of third-party data to reidentify individuals, and bar the use of “private communications” such as email contents and web traffic for advertising.

Main Takeaway – Multiple federal bills from both sides of the aisle have been proposed recently to consolidate existing federal laws and override the burgeoning number of different state laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, but none have proceeded beyond the proposal stage. Brands and marketers should be prepared to deal with a patchwork of state-level privacy laws until federal legislation is passed.

* The opinions expressed in this post do not constitute or represent legal advice. No liability is accepted by the authors or W2O for any action taken or not taken based on the information or any associated communications.


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