IAB Tech Lab Presents Solution To Universal ID Privacy Tracking

The IAB Tech Labs team believes it has a solution to standardize data collection and improved privacy settings that gives consumers more control over the type of data companies use to target them advertisements. The team will present the "standardized identifier" at today's W3C meeting.

The standardized identifier, set up as a public utility and not owned by any one organization or company, aims to improve the way advertisers identify audiences and personalize data targeting without giving away information about the individual person. The information will travel with the consumer and will be integrated into the digital supply chain.

The proposal states conditions for any company to access the standardized identifier. For example, they "must consistently demonstrate compliance to the privacy preferences."

The standardized identifier also must have a "joint accountability system," complete with compliance settings built into the protocol. It also will be built with a "controlled container for ad delivery," which limits the execution of client-side code in order to reduce security, performance, and tracking concerns.

The standards will be presented to teams at Google Chrome, Apple Safari and other browsers, and others.

But companies still continue to develop their own versions of protecting data.

In August, Google released its version of privacy standards, Privacy Sandbox, which will anonymize aggregate user data and keep much more of it on the device, rather than store it in the cloud. The company’s engineers believe this will reduce the risk of the data being compromised or stolen.

For years, advertisers  have insisted that it's not possible to track personal data, but that is not entirely correct. One man, who believes he has proof, brought the incident to Irish data regulators that oversee data protection.

Based on that incident, which sources tell Digital News Daily is common practice, and the evidence submitted, Irish data regulators have accused Google’s Dublin-based European business of using personal data without sufficient controls or concerns over data protection.

We do not serve personalized ads or send bid requests to bidders without user consent," said a Google spokesperson. "The Irish DPC. as Google's lead DPA, and the UK ICO are already looking into real time bidding in order to assess its compliance with GDPR. We welcome that work and are co-operating in full."

Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer of web browser Brave, brought the incident to the attention of regulators after finding web pages containing race, health and political leanings to target ads while tracking his personal data on Google's advertising exchange. He believes Google has been feeding personal data to advertisers, reports the Financial Times.

Using a Google tracker based on location and time of browsing companies can match their profiles of Ryan and his web-browsing behavior with profiles from other companies, to target him with ads.

After he found six pages pushing out his personal identifier after one hour of looking at websites on Google's Chrome browser, Ryan commissioned Zach Edwards, who runs technical consulting firm Victory Medium, to test Google's behaviors over a month based on data from hundreds of people.

Tests show the identifier was unique and was shared between multiple advertising companies to enhance their targeting abilities.

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