Data Issues

Data issues - a key concern for advertisers

Below are the latest data issues affecting advertisers. More details are available for members by clicking on the appropriate links.

Alternatively, members may go direct to the Data Issues Members' Page here.


Data Protection - ISBA Update

General Data Protection Regulation  and what it  means to you. 

The European Commission announced in January of 2012 their intention to comprehensively reform the 1995 Data Protection rules, with the view of ‘strengthening online privacy rights and boosting Europe’s digital economy’. For advertisers, it means that targeted online advertising could be severely affected.


EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): €20 Million Euro Fine For Non - Compliance

Data Protection Directive Proposals threaten significant financial and administrative burden to business.
In January 2012 the European Commission published its proposals for a comprehensive reform of the EU's 1995 Data Protection rules, with their intention being to ‘strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy’. The Commission aims to create a consistent data protection regime across Europe.
The Regulation aims to update the existing data protection framework across EU markets. In December an informal agreement was reached after four years of discussion. See Why brands must start preparing for new data laws now. Could European data protection reforms herald new rules of engagement for marketers? The new Regulation will have a significant impact on digital advertising. 

The Regulation has now been officially ratified by the EU Parliament. Companies that haven’t complied with the new law after two years have elapsed could potentially be fined up to 4% of their annual global turnover or €20 million.

ISBA’s Data Protection panel session at AdWeek Europe was unique. We had four advertisers on the panel, willing to provide practical insight on how they have already started working towards complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Stephen McCartney, Royal Mail, Claire Knight, L’Oreal, Michael Bond, News UK and Kevin Bryant, E.ON. Also on the panel was Garreth Cameron from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), tasked with regulating the new law.
Members are encouraged to liaise between relevant departments, as well as seeking legal advice on the new Regulation. ISBA will be publishing Guidance on the Regulation as soon as the ICO has produced Guidance.

Privacy is high on the political agenda, and data-driven ad business models are under the political spotlight at EU level. There is a great deal at stake here for advertisers. ISBA’s position is that, in their current form, the EU’s Data Protection proposals represent a significant financial and administrative burden to business, which is both costly and onerous, hindering the online user experience – hardly conducive to innovation and growth in the industry. 

While consistent law across Europe is generally useful for UK businesses, ISBA is concerned that the significantly stricter Data Protection laws in other European member states will lead to a far stricter data protection regime in the UK, with nations lagging behind the UK keen to ‘level the playing field.’ 
The main concerns of members are as follows: 

The consent requirement: Consent is now much more explicit e.g. silence or absence of action (opt-out) no longer qualifies. Website owners would need to ask consumers’ permission every time they collect data e.g. when placing a cookie, even on their own sites. This risks consent fatigue.

The definition of personal data: which has been broadened too widely to “any information relating to a data subject”, explicitly applying to digital forms of data, including an anonymous identifier such as a cookie or an IP address, i.e. any data linked to a person, anonymous or not.

Profiling: It is anticipated that automated profiling of users will be prohibited, unless acquired with user consent. There needs to be clarification on profiling / segmentation from the EC on this.


The UK Government is seriously concerned about the potential economic impact of the proposals. At a time when the Eurozone appears to be slipping back into recession, reducing the regulatory burden to secure growth must be the priority for all Member States. It is difficult therefore to justify the extra red-tape and tick box compliance that the proposal represents.