On the basis of an internal questionnaire sent to our members, this report presents the views of the European Publishers Council (“EPC”) on the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and its effects on news publishers and the wider online community. Its purpose is to inform the European Commission of the unintended consequences of the GDPR on news publishers, and on the online advertising eco-system on which they critically depend as a source of revenue. While the GDPR has provided important benefits to society at large in terms of increased privacy, it has also strengthened the dominant position of large platforms in online advertising markets, such as Google and Facebook, to the detriment of their smaller rivals and news publishers. This increased market concentration harms news publishers in terms of choice, innovation and revenues and arguably undermines the benefits of GDPR for the users of large platforms. For these reasons, the current situation is in our view unsustainable so part of our paper includes some recommendations for the future.
Part I – Introduction and Overview looking at the effects of the GDPR on news publishers and to inform the European Commission of the unintended consequences of the GDPR on news publishers and on the online advertising eco-system more widely on which they critically depend as a source of revenue.
Part II – Looking Forward: Key Recommendations While the GDPR has played a major role in strengthening data protection in the EU, we have seen increasing market concentration to the detriment of smaller market participants in the ad tech ecosystem which negatively impacts news publishers. We invite the European Commission to consider and remedy the shortcomings we have identified which affect innovation and competition in the market.
Part III provides our short overview of the objectives of the GDPR, the principles it enshrines and draws some conclusions from its implementation.
Part IV analyses the GDPR’s unintended consequences in more detail: As will be seen, the GDPR has increased concentration in the markets in which the collection and processing of personal data is important, including in online advertising markets on which news publishers are so heavily dependent. We will also show that the GDPR and privacy considerations have been used by Google to engage in anticompetitive conduct.
Part V identifies some problematic practices that the GDPR has not prevented: First, the GDPR has not prevented Google from combining the data it collects across its user-facing services (e.g., YouTube, Search, Maps) and use it for a wide variety of purposes, hence allowing what has been labelled an “internal data free-for-all”. Second, due to the narrow approach of DG Competition, the GDPR has done nothing to prevent big data mergers, which once again strengthen the position of large online platforms.
Follow this link to read the report.