Are we clear? Explaining what happens with personal data in online media

Written by Ine van Zeeland, Heritiana Ranaivoson & Luciano Morganti

In the beginning of 2019, the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) handed Google a 50 million Euro fine for not properly explaining the consequences of its profiling activities. Professionals in the media and advertising industries pricked up their ears. While enforcement actions unnerve many in the media sector, underlying justifications provide clarity on the interpretation of contested provisions in data protection legislation. Clarity is sorely needed.

 

‘Lack of clarity’ emerged as the main theme with regard to personal data protection in a roundtable discussion organized in February between stakeholders in the Belgian media sector (news media, telecom providers, consumer advocates, academia, regulators, law firms, ad tech, and intermediaries). Interpretations of requirements differ between companies, between companies and consumers/users, and between regulators and companies. The consequence of this is that nobody knows for sure what is allowed and what is not.

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The General Data Protection Regulation: A first step to protect EU citizens’ personal data

Words by: Merve Bektas, Yasmim Pessoa, Kaia Socha, Laura Basiacco, Justyna Zawada, Artaban Micali Drossos, Luciano Morganti, Heritiana Ranaivoson

Who has not yet seen this request while navigating the Internet: “This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies”? We all did! But, let’s be honest: how many of us even know to what exactly we are agreeing to?

Yet, every day, we put our trust in the hands of companies without knowing the specifics of the(ir) terms and conditions we subscribe to. Why do we do so? Most probably, it is for the willingness to log in quickly, to buy a specific product (we cannot any more live without!), to book an Airbnb … all of this and more overpowers the burden of reading the pages we are supposed to read and agree to about those specific terms and conditions.

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