Senators fight over consumer’s right to sue companies; Will Apple put an end to fingerprints?

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So sue me

One of the many sticking points against a US federal privacy law is whether people will be able to sue tech companies in open court.

Terms of service often state that signatories waive their right to sue and must instead resort to arbitration – which is confidential and tends to favor business, Bloomberg reports.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, is all for a private right of action, but she’s willing to compromise. Cantwell proposes limiting lawsuits to cases of “substantial harm to privacy,” that is, harm to an individual worth $1,000 or more.

But no matter what a company’s terms of service say, consumers often sue for misleading claims, even if they’re bound in arbitration.

The Chamber of Commerce, which supports arbitration (duh), has warned executives against the practice, arguing it would lead to frivolous lawsuits.

The term “malicious prosecution” is subject to interpretation. In Europe, where individuals can sue corporations, one such individual, Max Schrems, won high-profile lawsuits against Big Tech that had more consequences than all the fines ever levied against Meta, Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft. together.

printing paper

Apple laid the groundwork for smothering mobile fingerprints at its Worldwide Developers Conference in 2020.

But here we are, two years later with WWDC 2022 just around the corner, and the practice – whereby companies combine data points such as IP address, OS version and device model. device to identify an individual – is still rampant on iOS. Most companies don’t even hide that they do it, writes Eric Seufert on Mobile development memo.

“Fingerprinting is a privacy nightmare, and it’s a crutch deterring the ad tech ecosystem from investing in measurement and attribution solutions that embrace the new privacy landscape,” he wrote. .

But if it’s so blatant and so overt, why hasn’t Apple turned the screws on companies that use users’ fingerprints?

Seufert posits that Apple doesn’t care because the type of “fingerprints” used to confirm app installs, such as corresponding device data, including battery status and device orientation screen, is not a persistent identifier. This type of fingerprinting can confirm that an ad was served on a device, which then downloaded an app, but cannot be turned into a durable identifier.

Of course, it’s unclear if Apple will eventually break the whip, but it seems like the losers here are all those app developers who took Apple at its word when it said SKAdNetwork would be the only way to measure conversions. iOS installer after deploying ATT.

Gather information

Dreamscape, a subsidiary of private equity firm GTCR, has acquired Standard Media Index ad spend tracking. Dreamscape is a partnership between GTCR and ad tech veterans Scott Knoll, David Hahn and Michael Iantosca (former CEOs, CPOs and CROs, respectively, of Integral Ad Science).

Knoll is now the new CEO of SMI.

Dreamscape has been pretty quiet since 2020, when GTCR launched Unity with the three programmatic vets. But that changed last month when Dreamscape invested in SQAD, a campaign forecasting and analytics provider.

This kind of comparisons are in fashion.

Last year, app market intelligence company Sensor Tower merged with Pathmatics, which scrapes web advertisements to create market intelligence typically used by marketers to keep tabs on ads, tactics and the campaigns carried out by their rivals.

Likewise, meet Similarweb, which provides aggregate market reports on web traffic, with a focus on competitive insights as well. Similarweb went public last year and has since acquired Embee Mobile, a market research company based on embedded and programmatic surveys, and Rank Ranger, which rates and reviews companies based on search results.

But wait, there’s more!

Facebook is developing “Basic Ads,” a privacy-focused product it hopes could boost its struggling advertising platform. [Insider]

Google is warning all Canadian lawmakers not to fast-track a bill that would require it to pay publishers for news content in search results. (Haven’t we heard this before?) [Global News]

Netflix slips and Hollywood cheers. But maybe it shouldn’t. [Vox]

Pinterest acquires The Yes, an AI-powered shopping startup. [TechCrunch]

The industry is questioning the value of SPACs after high-profile face-plants at BuzzFeed and Forbes. [Digiday]

Snapchat now offers dynamic travel ads. [Search Engine Land]

You are engaged!

GroupM’s Mindshare appoints Kathy Kline as chief strategy and innovation officer for North America. [MediaPost]

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