Data Sharing Choice

Data Sharing Choice (DSC) is about keeping the internet free and putting users in the driver’s seat of protecting their data privacy. This can get very technical very quickly. To explain this effectively, pick your primary lens:

I care about privacy and the future of the internet

The challenge

Concerns about user data privacy have led Apple and Google to gradually remove 3rd party cookies from their browsers. 3rd party cookies have been the bloodline of advertising on the open internet because they facilitate the creation of anonymous rich profiles of users. These rich profiles are relevant to advertisers, who often buy advertising space on websites based on the rich profile of the current, anonymous visitor. This practice has raised two primary concerns from internet users:

  • The personal identity factor – for as long as those rich user profiles are anonymous, many people feel comfortable. Once these rich profiles get matched behind the scenes with people’s email addresses, and hence with their real-life identity, most people are alarmed about their privacy as they fail to understand the intricacies of hashed emails.
  • The “creepy factor” – Internet users are unnerved when they receive personalized emails from websites they recently visited under the assumption of anonymity. The site visitors are even more concerned when receiving direct mail, despite never providing any personal information.

Limited scale solutions

Removing 3rd party cookies “just like that”, without any acceptable alternative in its place, creates a host of new problems for internet users:
  • It puts the free internet at risk and would prompt content providers to raise paywalls and charge for their content. A typical publisher makes 50% – 70% of their revenue from ads targeted to their visitors based on off-site data. Larger publishers also depend heavily on third-party cookies. Some of the most prestigious large publishers are estimated to have 80% of their revenue based on 3rd party cookie data.
  • It risks users seeing the same ad again and again all over the place because ad delivery technologies will not be able to tell that it’s actually the same person on different sites.
  • Most users are not expected to sign in everywhere due to privacy concerns.

Intent IQ’s Data Sharing Choice (‘DSC’) proposed solution.

A simple, standardized invitation to opt-in to the sharing of the visited site cookie ID, IP address and user-agent, which are anonymous if not matched with personal information. This is very similar in nature to the increasingly prevalent opt-in to data collection, mandated in Europe by GDPR.

It would look like this:

Intent IQ’s solution provides a privacy friendly universal ID across sites and devices that in turn enable the personalizing of ads using data collected on and offsite. Ads that fund consumers free access to content.

This solution will:
  • Give users the choice to let the site they’re visiting share their site cookie ID, IP address and user-agent with advertisers, or to deny this permission.
  • Use short, clear, helpful language that users can make sense of across a large number of websites, similar to how it’s done today for cookies in Europe.
  • Give the user the choice to either click on an “Accept All” button or click to actively manage the data to be shared with third parties. The user is not asked to enter any information. The “C” in DSC stands for “Choice”. The user is in the driver’s seat, making informed choices
  • Put users and regulators at ease that user data is not shared without consent.
  • Help the open internet thrive, instead of making Google and Apple even more powerful.

Overall, to the internet user, the proposed solution is only a minor change to user experience. In opt-out regimes such as the US and Canada, it’s the addition of a simple “opt-in or manage” overlay, that users increasingly are used to seeing as they browse today’s Europe compliant sites.


Intent IQ is building a broad coalition to support this initiative.