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Advertising of spyware and malware with the intent to track user data without their authorization or consent will not b...
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Google puts a ban on non-consensual ad tracking, digital experts welcome the move

Advertising of spyware and malware with the intent to track user data without their authorization or consent will not b...
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  • Google has announced that it will restrict unauthorized consumer tracking via advertisements on digital platforms, which is expected to come into existence on August 11 worldwide.
  • As per this policy, advertising of spyware and malware with the intent to track user data without their authorization or consent will not be allowed.
  • We reached out to experts to understand the consequences of this move.
As digital marketing takes precedence in the post-COVID world and consumers become more aware of the kind of digital products they are using, Google has decided to update its advertising policy in its users’ favour. It has put a ban on spyware and surveillance technology.

As per this policy, Google will block brands that are marketed with the purpose of tracking or monitoring consumer behaviour and/or their activities without the tech giant’s authorization. GPS trackers that are specifically marketed to spy or track someone without their consent or promote surveillance equipment (cameras, audio recorders, dash cams, nanny cams) with the purpose of spying will be suspended after a 7 days notice.

With this, users’ privacy will be protected. However, advertisers will have to find another way to personalise their ads for their consumers. So we reached out to digital experts to understand how the halt on data mining will impact digital marketing at large and how advertisers should go about it.

Here is what they said:

Sameer Makani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives:

Ever since the ban on Chinese apps, users have become more aware and worried about their data and privacy. This regulation was needed to ensure that users are fully secured and there is no breach of privacy on daily activity. This step will help in creating a more transparent and secure environment for brands and users, both. Furthermore, Google has sketched guidelines for such promotional content including GPS trackers, Surveillance cameras, audio recorders, dash cams, etc. Since, the advertisers and marketers will be unable to collect user data from Google; it will offer more privacy to the user. This will impact marketers as they use these data points to provide personalized experience to an individual. However, considering the ongoing data mining, it was an imperative move to restrict non-consensual data. This will also provide an opportunity to marketers to expand their communication spectrum and find alternative ways to reach their target audience in an ethical manner.

Siddharth Devnani, Co-Founder & Partner, SoCheers:

Along with complying with local government on what should or should not be advertised, Google's ad platforms are known to add their own policies to prevent potential miscreants. This is a good step in that direction. It should significantly curtail the purchase of personal spying and tracking devices or software in regions where they are not banned already.

Prashant Puri, Co-Founder & CEO, AdLift:

This change in policy is in the best interest of users. Marketers should not be allowed to advertise for products where the sole purpose is to gather private user information such as user texts, browser history or phone calls. Digital marketing spends of products like these would be negatively impacted but will have little to no impact on the overall digital marketing ecosystem. At the end, policies that are good for the end user are great for marketers.

Prasad Shejale, Founder and CEO, Logicserve Digital:

True to Alphabet's motto "Do the right thing", the new update on Enabling Dishonest Behavior policy is a very welcome step. Privacy of users in online as well as offline world is of paramount importance.

In the post COVID-19 world, the new normal will be driven by ‘Digital’ being the center of the transformation. And thus, user trust and comfort in this digital world is an essential element. Google being an important player in the digital ecosystem, is setting a good example by taking a stand on one of the most crucial aspects, user privacy and trust and, any service/product violating this promise will not be allowed to advertise on Google.

It’s surely a great step by the company and strongly emphasises on the importance of ethical work practices keeping privacy and data protection at the center stage, and how these aspects can help us build a safe, secure environment to work as well as thrive in the digital marketing industry.

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO & Co-Founder, Gozoop:

We practice ethical advertising and so do all our clients. Hence there will no impact of Google’s decision. Infact it is a welcome step in the right direction.

Sabiha NS Khan, VP - Strategy, Planning & New Business, WATConsult:

“This step from Google is definitely in the right direction and yet another way to adhere to its philosophy of valuing consumer privacy while being honest and fair in its conduct. This further strengthens its platforms to be safer for its consumers as everyone has the right to privacy and to be safe online. With cyber-security being a threat to many across the globe, this will increase their usage knowing the fact that their data is in a secure environment. From a digital marketing standpoint, this provides an opportunity for brands to build empathy and raise awareness about cyber-security, empowering consumers to take precautions against privacy-threatening apps.”

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