Privacy Compliance Guidelines

The Latest Privacy Compliance Guidelines for News Publishers

Online privacy regulations seem to be changing every week, and many digital news publishers are asking where they fit in. These are the latest privacy compliance guidelines that news publishers need to know about in 2021.

The shift in privacy compliance guidelines that we’re seeing today has been in the works for some time, long before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau in Europe published the second iteration of its Transparency and Consent Framework back in 2019. The goal there was to increase transparency for end-users and offer greater control over how data is processed. However, the framework had implications for publishers, as well.

Here in the United States, certain states have created their own privacy regulations. The latest of these is Virginia, which adopted a comprehensive consumer data privacy law back in March.

Software developers are stepping in to help digital publishers keep pace with the evolving privacy compliance guidelines. For example, earlier this year the data privacy software firm Sourcepoint launched a tool called Privacy Lens, which measures and analyzes privacy data for digital publishers and brands. The goal with Privacy Lens, as with a number of other privacy software platforms aimed at the digital news market, is to give publishers a better understanding of the privacy experience on their websites, mobile apps, and other digital properties.

Privacy software can be especially valuable for digital news publishers who need extra guidance in keeping up with evolving regulations on a state-by-state level. In addition to the Transparency and Consent Framework from IAB, publishers should also be familiar with the CCPA Compliance Framework. Any intrusive identifying techniques, include device fingerprinting, should be phased out or removed altogether, based on the latest privacy compliance guidelines.

Another regulation that digital news publishers should be aware of is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA came into effect in early 2020. It requires digital publishers to display clear links on their homepages, which allow California residents to request that their personal information not be sold.

Just because you operate in a state that doesn’t have its own online privacy regulations doesn’t make you exempt from the latest privacy guidelines. As a digital news publisher, you have almost no control over who visits your website. If any of your website traffic is coming from a state like California or Virginia, or a resident of the European Union, then you need to be in full compliance.

If you’re unsure whether you’re in compliance, then you’re probably not. Privacy compliance guidelines are incredibly nuanced. Although these regulations apply to all online publishers, publishers who run advertising on their websites face a particular burden. Publishers are expected to track the way user data is used by any connected advertising platforms and entities. The CCPA broadly defines what it means to “sell” information about website visitors, and publishers need to be careful about the personal information they transfer to third-party platforms and ad tech services like Google Ad Manager.

Consider these questions:

  • Which web applications are you sharing information which, and what information are you sharing?
  • Are you collecting first-party information to serve personalized content?
  • Are you keeping a record of the IP address of every visitor requesting a resource?
  • Have you implemented a consent program?

As we move further into 2021, the existing privacy compliance guidelines seem to be tightening up. The CCPA, for example, is continuing to be refined by California lawmakers, and publishers will eventually be required to conduct yearly audits to monitor whether all of the entities they share data with are in full compliance. Additional powers of enforcement are expected to be introduced in 2021 and 2022, as well.

The best way to remain in compliance is to take a proactive approach and work with an agency that specializes in your industry. Being proactive when it comes to privacy compliance means regularly reviewing privacy regulations and addressing any holes in security or data collection practices. Here at Web Publisher PRO, we work exclusively with digital publishers and we can offer guidance on navigating all aspects of the evolving privacy landscape. For more information on the services we offer, click here.