Consent Summit 2022 Takeaways: Privacy and Compliance are Ad Tech’s Regulators

If any marketer pitched a conference centered around privacy a decade ago, they would have been laughed out of the room, expressed Playwell LLC Founder, Linette Attai. Today, data privacy is an essential component of any publisher or advertiser’s professional life and they would be remiss for not paying attention to it. 

At the LeadsCon 2022 Consent Summit, agencies, marketers, technologists, legal teams, digital departments, data agencies and compliance professionals came together to discuss all things privacy, consent and compliance. 

From discussing the potential federal privacy regulations moving through the U.S. Legislature to learning about balancing your privacy and compliance issues with your company’s growth goals, each session aimed to educate  how to maneuver the new world order of privacy. 

There was a lot to take away from the conference, but here’s the scoop on some of the major highlights. 

1. Federal Privacy Regulations Are Nigh

To start off the conference, Howard W. Waltzman and Christopher Leach, both Partners at Mayer Brown, gave an industry deep dive into all things ADPPA and the FTC. 

While the ADPPA has still yet to pass through all the proper channels to become an official bill, many believe it is only a matter of time before the U.S. creates comprehensive federal privacy regulations. There are still some detractors, most notably in California, but the bill has garnered significant bipartisan support. 

Key Elements 

  • Data minimization was one of the major driving forces behind the most recent version of the ADPPA. Waltzman suggests that he was surprised by how much impact it had. 
    • “Having data minimization as an overriding principle is a very significant aspect of the bill,” said Waltzman. “It’s something to be mindful of as you’re thinking about compliance and legislation down the road. The overarching principle of the bill will state that you only use data to effectuate a purpose that is  either requested by the consumer or necessary for business operation.” 
  • Other major elements: Transparency and consumer choice; Access, correction, deletion and data portability; Civil Rights and Algorithmic bias; Provision specific to minors; Data Brokers; Data Security; Sharing Consumer data with service providers and third parties; Enforcement; The relationship b/t federal and state laws 

2. Do Not Look at Privacy Regulations as a Hindrance to Your Business

Linetta Attai started her session, “Beyond Consent: Unpacking the Power Dynamic in Your Marketing Campaign”, by challenging the audience to reframe their mindsets about how they think about the way privacy regulations impact their business. 

“The question I have to kick us off is do you look at privacy requirements coming your way as help or hindrance?” asked Attai.  “In terms of the work that you are trying to do or the data you’re trying to bring in the marketing objectives. Is what you are trying to achieve, being helped or hurt by privacy regulations?” 

The reality is privacy regulations around consumer data are not going to disappear and, according to Attai, having a reactionary mindset will only prove detrimental to your business. Instead, she asserts that you reframe your mindsight to think about privacy as something that may be “a little overwhelming and challenging,” but also something that you should dive into head first. Coming in with the former attitude will only hinder your growth goals for your business. 

Practical Business Takeaways

  • Make sure you are fully transparent with your consumers about how you are using their data. 
  • Purpose limitation: You can only use data for the purpose you disclosed to the consumer.
  • Implement appropriate security measures for your business to make sure your consumer data is not leaked. 

3. Revenue Goals Should Not Outweigh the Needs of The Consumer

For the session, “Are you funding the Marketing Assault on the American Consumer?” Jonathan Beamer, Chief Marketing Officer, AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation and Steve Rafferty, CEO, ActiveProspect participated in a fireside chat that centered around how some ad tech practices are a direct attack on the consumer’s right to privacy.

Rafferty began the discussion by inquiring if the title was a hyperbole. He came to the conclusion that, while not all of the ad tech industry is a wolf trying to blow the consumer’s houses down, “…in the search of leads and audience many industry professionals have gone through dark alleys to retrieve consumer data.” 

The State of the Consumer. Beamer firmly agrees that many ad tech professionals have gone down dark alleys in pursuit of leads and postures that the consumer is fed up. For example, he highlighted stats that said in 2021 there were 50 billion robo calls that tried to contact U.S. phone users and, in response, the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry had 244 millions registrants. 

“One of my responsibilities is to look out for these sentiments in the consumer,” said Beamer. “One of the things people get the most upset about is when they feel like they didn’t invite the conversation and I think that’s the tension in this room. We’re chasing sales and we’re chasing returns even though the best conversion is when a consumer reaches out to a brand. There’s no better conversion. But in the search for scale and in the search for volume, we go about down a lot of dark alleys.

4. Nurture Your Relationship with Your Legal and Compliance Teams

In a conversation hosted by LeadsCon host, Ian Mcrae, two lawyers and a business executive discussed the importance of building a healthy partnership between your legal team and executive team and how to go about creating your compliance framework. 

They each emphasized the increase of data breach litigation especially over the last five years. You do not want to have your business caught in the crossfire of the privacy regulators. The only way to do that is to create a robust privacy and compliance policy for your business. 

Deborah Solmor, General Counsel, TCS Education System suggests informing your legal and your compliance teams about your brand’s business objectives so they can help you understand how to achieve them in a way that is privacy compliant. 

“Ten to fifteen years ago, the idea was to have a lawyer because I have to have somebody who tells me how to comply with the laws,” said Solomor. “I can tell you that as a general counsel in my role now, all the conversation centers around how do you support the business? How do you be part of the business? If I can’t understand what the objectives of my colleges and universities are, I’m not really going to be very successful in my job. My job is to help them and my team’s job is to help them meet their objectives.”