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GDPR – Factual’s Commitment to Compliance and Consent

The May 25th, 2018 enforcement date of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is fast approaching!

Like everyone else in the industry, Factual has been preparing for more than a year, conducting thorough audits and developing systems to ensure that we, along with our data suppliers, are taking the necessary steps to fully comply with the coming changes.

The Impact of GDPR on Location Data in Europe
It’s an incredible challenge to achieve full GDPR compliance when it comes to providing location data, as so much about the new regulation and how it will apply to the advertising ecosystem remains to be seen.

Yes, industry organizations (and individual vendors) are working to get there – Factual is actively working alongside many others in the field to develop the IAB Europe’s GDPR Transparency & Consent Framework, and we are members of various IAB UK and IAB Europe GDPR Implementation Working Groups. But until further standards and structures are widely approved and adopted, we believe that collectively, the industry is not entirely prepared to claim full compliance with the GDPR.

Clearly, we aren’t lawyers and can’t provide guidance on how to comply with the GDPR, but we are experts at location data and know something about how the new regulations will impact it in Europe.

It is unrealistic for location data vendors offering audience-based targeting or measurement solutions built on European personal data from mobile devices to claim that they can provide a large volume of high-quality personal data collected with GDPR-compliant consent, today or by the enforcement date.

Here’s why:

  • GDPR-compliant consent measures are still not widely in place across Europe, impacting not only Factual, but others in the industry
  • Even if adequate consent measures were in place, consumers have yet to opt-in en masse, and thus the overall pool of data available in the EU will take time to rebuild
  • The full extent of compliance has not yet been demonstrated by regulators and is difficult to predict until the GDPR takes effect

This is an issue impacting not only Factual, but every personal data provider that currently works with European personal data.

How Factual is Handling GDPR Compliance
In order to preserve the trust our partners and customers have placed in us, and to ensure we’re only delivering the highest quality data and results to them, Factual has elected to pause its Audience business in relation to European data. We are in the process of rebuilding that EU data pool, accepting only data collected in compliance with GDPR.

While we will see short term reductions in the volume of European data available within our Geopulse Audience and Geopulse Measurement products, we believe this is the only appropriate response for Factual. As the global location data market leader, as well as for any company that is concerned with protecting the privacy of consumers, shielding customers from risk and adhering to GDPR compliance should come first.

To be completely clear, Factual is fully committed to its business in Europe, and we will continue to grow our offerings in the EU and beyond.

In a post-GDPR world, solutions that allow businesses to better understand and reach their customers without accessing or exchanging sensitive information will be critical. Anticipating this, we already offer products that are privacy-safe and incorporate our high-quality location data – namely our Proximity geofencing solution, and Engine, an SDK which allows all personal data  to be processed on-device, and we plan to continue to offer both of these products in EU without interruption.

Further, as data privacy and security continue to make headlines, Factual is helping other companies both comply with existing regulations and develop their own, sustainable datasets that will allow them to succeed in the future.

As a data company, privacy is and always has been core to our business. We work hard to be transparent about the data we collect, how we collect it, and how we use it. We’ll continue to do so now and in the future, even as regulations, and technologies, evolve.

For more on Factual’s policies and preparations for the GDPR, refer to our GDPR information page.

Statements above reflect the opinions of Gil Elbaz and of Factual. Factual is not providing any legal advice or interpretation on GDPR clauses.

Update (May, 2018): Thank you for visiting our blog.  Based on feedback we received, we have updated some of the original language in our post to clarify that Factual is pausing its Audience business in EU, and that we plan to continue to offer products such as Proximity and Engine without interruption in EU.