AdMonsters Ops Reveal: Keynote James Rosewell on Disrupting Digital Monopolies and the Future of Online Privacy

Gearing up for AdMonsters Ops, we spiced things up with a LinkedIn Live featuring keynote James Rosewell, the trailblazing Cofounder of Movement for an Open Web (MOW), who dished out his unique perspective on today’s tumultuous regulatory terrain.

In our quest for the perfect keynote speakers for AdMonsters Ops, we wanted industry leaders who were not afraid to expose what’s going on behind the curtains, and James Rosewell does just that. So, who is James Rosewell? He’s not your average entrepreneur. He’s the guy who caught the attention of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in January 2020 with his razor-sharp insights on digital markets.

With one bold move, through his B2B data business, 51 Degrees, Rosewell’s submission to the CMA sparked a series of events leading to the formation of Movement for an Open Web (MOW). This not-for-profit aims to educate regulators, industry players, and standards bodies about the need for stable interoperability in the digital realm.

Our discussion with Rosewell was a whirlwind of wisdom and revelations. In a short amount of time, we covered a range of privacy concerns. Now, let’s unpack the key highlights.

Collaboration Among Regulators is Key: James discussed engaging with various regulatory bodies like the UK’s CMA, the European Commission, and the Department of Justice to address digital monopolies and the need for market regulation to ensure fair competition and innovation. 

Recent actions by the US Department of Justice and the EU signal a coordinated effort to address antitrust issues in the tech industry. With investigations into major players like Apple, Alphabet, and Meta, the focus is shifting toward ensuring fair competition and consumer protection. The road ahead may be complex, but the goal remains clear: to promote innovation while safeguarding user privacy.

The Future of Cookies: Our conversation dove into the regulatory whirlpool of challenges facing Google before it fully phases out third-party cookies. Rosewell suggested that based on the CMA’s findings and ongoing reports, the complete removal of third-party cookies by 2024 seems uncertain. 

The CMA’s most recent report highlighted concerns about Google’s practices, with at least 39 regulatory issues to address before third-party cookies can bid adieu. The timeline for the cookie’s demise is not set in stone, but regulatory bodies are closely monitoring Google’s proposed changes and their implications for privacy and market competition.

One key takeaway from our conversation was the importance of industry feedback in shaping regulatory decisions. The CMA encourages all businesses to voice their concerns and provide input on the impact of regulatory changes. Anonymity plays a significant role in this process, allowing businesses to share insights without fear of repercussions. 

Privacy Sandbox and Market Concerns: Diving into the heart of the concerns over Google’s Privacy Sandbox are as real as they get. It’s a scenario brimming with self-preferencing issues and the risk of technologies tipping the scale in Google’s favor, leaving other players in the digital dust. Rosewell advocates testing these technologies, especially in environments like YouTube, to ensure they are beneficial and fair to the market before broader implementation.

As we look towards the future, Rosewell emphasizes the need for competition to drive innovation for the best privacy solutions. Rather than relying solely on Google or Apple’s approaches, we need diverse solutions tailored to the entire ecosystem’s needs, making it a more equitable and dynamic open marketplace. As we navigate these complexities, collaboration, industry feedback, and a focus on competition is essential. The future of digital innovation hinges on our ability to adapt, evolve, and embrace new solutions that prioritize user privacy and drive technological progress.