GDPR and ePrivacy Regulations will Harm news Publishing Business

News publishers feel that the ePrivacy regulation proposals which complement the General Data Protection Regulation will lead to concentration of EU digital citizens’ data in the custody of few global firms such as Apple, Google, and Facebook.

This move will endanger the security of the digital citizens contrary to the belief that the regulations will enhance security and data privacy. The proposals permit the publishers to lobby their customers to unblock and whitelist individual sites. This will potentially disrupt business and hand the few global companies an edge given that the laws entrust them with control of advertising and personal data.

Consequently, a significant number of leading publishers including Telegraph, Spiegel, Les Echoes, Daily Mail, Le Monde, Financial Times and Guardian have written to the European Parliament to reconsider the changes to the online privacy laws.

Presently, consumers have the option to approve cookies that track them every time they visit a website. However, the changes in ePrivacy and the GDPR that relate to cookies will require the customers to choose between either accepting or rejecting cookies from all sites and apps just once.

The law deprives the publishers of the opportunity to keep track of the users’ digital behaviors hence disallowing targeting of ads. The new law, therefore, denies digital business turnover and critical information to enhance advertising models. Digital companies that have their own data mining structures such as Facebook stand to benefit from these changes.

Currently, Facebook and Google command a significant proportion of total global advertising spending.  These two firms control almost a fifth of the worldwide advertising expenditure and also enjoy the lion’s share of the £11bn UK digital advertising market. Given this, news publishers will face financial difficulties when the General Data Protection Regulations and the ePrivacy regulations proposals take effect in 2018. In essence, these changes will curtail their ability to compete with digital giants such as Google or Facebook for advertising revenues hence discouraging them from making investments in high-quality journalism in Europe.

The General Data Protection regulations and the ePrivacy regulations have the ability to clean up the digital economy. Failure to protect consumer’s Personal Identifiable Information (PII) will lead to loss of market and ruin reputation. The penalty outlined in the DGPR for non-observance of integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of personal data is also huge.

As such, the laws must be accorded seriousness and its regime implementation in a structured and efficient way will reward many organizations. However, there must be a fair playing field for digital market revenue competition.