Google might be the one licking its wounds after being hit by the first major fine under GDPR but the ruling should act as a wake-up call to the entire digital marketing industry, according to experts.
Yesterday, French regulator CNIL slapped the company with a €50m (£44m) fine after ruling that it did not provide transparent and easily accessible information on its consent policies.
However, Ron Moscona, a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, believes the penalty imposed on Google by the French regulator should be seen as a warning shot at the digital industry at large.
He added: “The indications are that after many years of under-enforcement, regulators in the EU are prepared to use GDPR and flex their muscles.
“The targeted advertising industry faces a serious challenge: how to operate in a legal environment that requires that users permit the use of their data for profiling and advertising purposes and still offer its fundamental services at low or no cost to users.”
In its defence, Google said that “people expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We’re deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR”.
But Ensighten chief revenue officer Ian Woolley is not so sure. He said: “The new data economy demands trust and transparency between businesses and their customers, Google has failed to do that and it is now paying the price.
“This is another warning for all businesses to review their data strategy as a whole and ensure they address all potential gaps. When it comes to compliance, investment is key to ensure brands aren’t caught out by huge fines and the cost of reputational damage by cutting corners with data.”
One industry source added: “This is only round one, but it does show the regulators are willing to take a tough stance. Google might be in the firing line this time but there are many more companies out there which are far from transparent when it comes to processing online data. Those who haven’t got their houses in order need to act before it is too late.”
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