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Measuring the Impact of the GDPR on Data Sharing in Ad Networks

Measuring the Impact of the GDPR on Data Sharing in Ad Networks Prof. Dr. Norbert Pohlmann - Cyber-Sicherheitsexperten

Measuring the Impact of the GDPR on Data Sharing in Ad Networks Pohlmann

Measuring the Impact of the GDPR on Data Sharing in Ad Networks
M. Degeling, T. Holz, N. Pohlmann, D. Tatang, T. Urban: “Measuring the Impact of the GDPR on Data Sharing in Ad Networks” ACM AsiaCCS 2020, Tai­pei, Tai­wan, June 2020

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which
went into effect in May 2018, brought new rules for the processing of personal data that affect many business models, including
online advertising. The regulation’s definition of personal data applies to every company that collects data from European Internet
users. This includes tracking services that, until then, argued that
they were collecting anonymous information and data protection
requirements would not apply to their businesses.
Previous studies have analyzed the impact of the GDPR on the
prevalence of online tracking, with mixed results. In this paper, we
go beyond the analysis of the number of third parties and focus
on the underlying information sharing networks between online
advertising companies in terms of client-side cookie syncing. Using
graph analysis, our measurement shows that the number of ID
syncing connections decreased by around 40 % around the time
the GDPR went into effect, but a long-term analysis shows a slight
rebound since then. While we can show a decrease in information
sharing between third parties, which is likely related to the legislation, the data also shows that the amount of tracking, as well as the
general structure of cooperation, was not affected. Consolidation in
the ecosystem led to a more centralized infrastructure that might
actually have negative effects on user privacy, as fewer companies
perform tracking on more sites.

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