Data Sharing Choices (DSC) in Light of Google's Removal of 3rd-Party-Cookies

Google’s third-party cookies depreciation will be completed by March 2022, kicking off the process with the release of the Chrome 90 browser as soon as this month.


Third-party cookies are pieces of code that are set by a website other than the one a user is currently on, hence the name third-party. They differ from first-party cookies, which are codes stored by the same website that a user is visiting. Third-party cookies are used extensively for online-advertising purposes, usually for the purpose of targeted ads and

measuring ad’s effectiveness.


A lot has been said about third-party cookies. One of the main claims against it is the risk they may pose to individual privacy (while a debatable claim, however, a claim). In today’s AdTech world, many companies, brands, publishers, advertisers’ ad network and exchanges, etc., rely heavily on third-party cookies for targeted ads, attribution, and sales.


Google’s Privacy Sandbox Initiative

Google had announced its own solution for the new cookie-less world they are themselves imposing, the Privacy Sandbox. This Privacy Sandbox, presumably, is designed to be a compromise between individual privacy and the marketing needs of businesses. It will group internet users with similar browsing patterns together, as opposed to individually. It will allow businesses to target ads to relevant audiences, but these will be groups of people instead of individuals.


While the Privacy Sandbox is presented by Google as a step toward increased individual privacy, it’s also a step in the wrong direction. It poses a very real threat to businesses of all types within the AdTech ecosystem, since it’s obvious that targeted group ads are not the same as individual ads. Moreover, it gives Google an incredible amount of power over information while diminishing the power of smaller companies. As for users, they will still have no say in the matter of their own privacy and will be left powerless. And so, the outcome of the Privacy Sandbox has very little to do with safeguarding users’ privacy, and a lot to do with strengthening Google’s power over everyone else in the industry.


The Intent IQ Solution Data Sharing Choices (DSC)


Intent IQ (IIQ) has devised a simple, elegant solution to the post-third-party-cookies world, that will empower all industry players while promoting individual privacy.

IIQ’s Data Sharing Choices (DSC) is a simple, standardized invitation to opt-in to data sharing, giving users the choice to approve or deny a site permission to share their anonymous ID. This solution helps the open internet thrive, as opposed to giving Google and other big tech companies even more power than they already have.

Benefits of DSC include:


Anonymity

Google’s proposed solution for taking away third-party cookies does not eliminate the privacy issue of anonymity. As Google knows the identity of Chrome users from their usage of Google services, whether maps, YouTube, Drive, Gmail or Chrome itself, Google is asking consumers to trust them that they will not merge their identity with their Chrome Sandbox solution.

Moreover, Google’s sandbox is opt-out based. i.e., consumers are not asked for permission, they are automatically included. In contrast, unlike Google, IIQ cannot identify individuals using offline identifiers such as postal, name or email. Additionally, IIQ’s DSC asks consumers to opt-in to the sharing of anonymous site data such as first party cookie ID, ensuring anonymity by consumer’s choice.

Empowerment

DSC empowers users, publishers, advertisers and the AdTech industry as a whole. Users, because it gives them a choice to opt-in to anonymized advertising that funds their free access to content and manage their cookie preferences. Publishers, as it enables them to continue and rely on targeted advertising, which is the main revenue driver for the vast majority of them, while protecting them from data leakage. Advertisers, as it provides them with additional choices beyond advertising just within the Google walled garden while giving Google their valuable first party data on the way. AdTech companies will be empowered by enabling them to continue their independence, which contributes to healthy competition, while denying Google of the monopolizing power it will gain should Privacy Sandbox be adopted.

No Email log-in is Required

Users who wish to allow a site to collect their anonymous ID don’t need to provide an email address or any other personal data. There is an “Accept” button they can click, and that’s it.

Puts Users and Regulators at Ease

The premise of giving users the choice to opt-in can put users' minds at ease, because they know their data is not being shared without their consent. This will also appease regulators, who are cracking down on internet privacy.

Higher Coverage

Third-party cookies offer 56% coverage and other log-in solutions offer coverage of less than 20%. IIQ’s DSC, on the other hand, offers 80% coverage. This type of opt-in pop-up cookie consent had already showed success in the EU, so why shouldn’t it work in the US?

Preserving the Free Internet/Keeping the Internet Free

The privacy of the individual is a worthy cause, no doubt about it. But removing third-party cookies in one fell swoop is arguably not the solution and puts the free internet at risk. It would prompt paid content providers to charge more, burden users with putting in their email addresses, and empower big tech companies with first-party cookies at hand.

IIQ’s DSC addresses these issues by putting the choice in the hands of each individual, thereby maintaining user privacy, the diverse AdTech ecosystem, and the free internet.


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