HYGH Blog

Five on Friday: July 27

Top news every fortnight from the world of advertising, adtech, and emerging tech.

Facebook Fined 5bn for Privacy Breaches

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Following a year-long investigation, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that Facebook will pay a $5bn fine for significant privacy breaches unearthed in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This fine diminishes the FTC's largest fine handed down by the FTC for violation of consumer privacy, which was a $275m penalty for consumer credit agency Equifax.

The FTC also proposed settlements with the data analysis firm’s former chief executive Alexander Nix and its app developer Aleksandr Kogan. 

Facebook also must establish an independent privacy committee that Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will not have control over. Zuckerberg shared on his personal Facebook page: 

"Overall, these changes go beyond anything required under US law today. The reason I support them is that I believe they will reduce the number of mistakes we make and help us deliver stronger privacy protections for everyone.”

 

Ogilvy's Work with Border Control Creates Ethical Issues

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The head of Ogilvy CEO John Seifert, attended a meeting of angry employers who discovered the company's new work for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He noted the government contract is a “prestigious piece of business” and that CBP “itself is not a bad organization.”

“They are struggling to cope with a problem that has not been dealt with as a comprehensive solution from the US system,” claimed Seifert according to a recording of the meeting obtained by BuzzFeed News.  During the meeting an employee commented:


"So I think what I heard is that we're willing to work with companies that have oil spills. We're willing to work with companies that sell big tobacco. We're willing to work with companies that contribute to obesity rates and I guess, what I'm mostly hearing is that we're willing to work with companies that are allowing children to die and that are running concentration camps."

Another employee stated: “This is about people, not just about money,” one employee told their boss during the meeting. “I’m not sure what our values are,” another employee said. Another said they weren’t sure how they could show their face at an upcoming conference knowing their company did work for the agency.

Over the last couple of year's we've seen employees soundly protesting the business relationships of their companies from Wayfair, whose employees walked out to protest the company’s sales of furniture to a US detention facility to google employees walk out over its military contracts, work in China and the treatment of temporary workers and contractors. Now the ethics of such partnership is reverbating strongly in advertising, potentially causing a shakeup of old school, old boy networks. This is a trend to watch. 

Anonymous Data is not Actually Anonymous Thanks to Reverse Engineering 

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Research shared in Nature Communications reveals that individuals can be re-identified through reverse engineering. The authors say they validated a statistical model to “quantify the likelihood for a re-identification attempt to be successful, even if the dataset is heavily incomplete.”

Applying that model, they found that “99.98% of Americans would be correctly re-identified in any dataset using 15 demographic attributes.”

And an attacker “can, using our model, correctly re-identify an individual with high likelihood even if the population uniqueness is low.” The study challenges claims that a low population uniqueness is sufficient to protect people’s privacy.”

Peak Hour is Changing

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Research in Australia by oOh!media reveals that many people are escaping peak hour chaos - potentially providing new opportunities for DOOH marketing. The research explored the habits of more than 2,000 Australian commuters and found 1 in 3 weekday workers are travelling to work outside peak hour. On the way home, 42 per cent of commuters are beating the crowds again, travelling between 3 and 5pm.

The research also shows that 71 per cent of commuters who had seen at least one oOh! format in the last week say they noticed ads for the same product/service across different outdoor formats.

McDonald's, Nestlé, and Virgin Media in Blockchain DLT Ad Pilot

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JICWEBS is a cross-industry body who define standards and best practice for digital advertising. They recently announced the first participants in their pilot project which will evaluate how blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – can help to resolve the trust, transparency and inefficiency problems the digital advertising industry is facing.

Nestlé, McDonald’s and Virgin Media are the first brands to take advantage of the initial stage of the pilot which aims to provide end-to-end supply chain transparency and clarity around advertising spend. Further stages of the trial will look to optimise the supply chain and gain operational efficiencies for all involved.