This post is authored by Rupa Veena S and Julia Anna Joseph, 4th year BBALLB students at School of Law, Christ University
Adtech is advertising technology used by businesses to attract potential consumers to their websites. Adtech tools are used to track consumer preferences which are used for marketing products to potential consumers digitally. The Adtech industry has witnessed tremendous growth from the onset of the pandemic when a large proportion of consumers engaged in online shopping. However, the privacy concerns of adtech cannot go unaddressed. In light of the same, this article discusses various practices in the adtech industry that involve violation of privacy. It also makes a comparative analysis between the laws dealing with data protection and privacy concerns arising out of adtech in the United Kingdom (UK) and India.
Practices in the Adtech industry that violate Privacy
The entire adtech ecosystem relies on the personal data of consumers to display ads based on their preferences. Programmatic advertising is the most commonly used adtech and is automated in nature. It is used to buy or sell advertising space. Real-time bidding (“RTB”) is the most widely used programmatic advertising tool. RTB is used by publishers to sell ad space to advertisers who bid the highest in an auction. While advertisers make use of demand-side platforms (“DSPs”) to bid on advertising space, publishers use supply-side platforms (“SSPs”) to sell their ad space. The price for the purchase of ad space is agreed upon in online marketplaces called ad exchanges where publishers and advertisers are connected through DSPs and SSPs. The price while bidding is determined by the consumer’s information available to the advertisers. Cookies and other similar technologies are used to collect consumers’ personal data. The price paid for using websites which are “free” is the personal information collected and used to display ads. Now, what remains questionable is whether consumers’ personal data is collected or processed with their consent or not.