Every day, billions of people use the internet to search for products, check their email, share information with friends and use social networks. Individuals leave a trail of identifying information that companies use to gather insights into current and potential customers.
Since the beginnings of the commercial internet, third party cookies have been integral to how we are targeted and marketed to online. Businesses have used them in their digital marketing to track consumers even when they are not visiting their website. Challenged by data protection regulators and increasingly blocked by the major online platform companies, the role of third party cookies in AdTech is now set to decline. The personalisation of marketing will undoubtedly become ever more sophisticated, but how AdTech will operate in the future, either technically or commercially, is an open question.
Perry Keller has recently secured funding from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for ‘After third party cookies – Consumer consent and data autonomy in the globalised AdTech industry’. The project will critically investigate changes in the world’s dominant AdTech markets, the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to shed light on the future of programmatic advertising in the UK. The project will assess alternative ways to give consumers personal data control and empower them as AdTech profiling and tracking evolves.
Perry Keller is Reader (Associate Professor) in Media and Information Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London.
The ICO is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.