Sizmek's new data centre in Germany is a sign of things to come ahead of GDPR

Ad tech outfit Sizmek has announced the opening of a new data centre in Frankfurt, Germany, a development that will allow it to better adhere to the upcoming pan-European data protection rules, plus address advertiser issues such as latency when bidding on inventory.

Sizmek is launching the new data centre to support its ad serving technology MDX NXT, by enhancing its ability to comply with the upcoming changes in the European data collection and processing laws, i.e. the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which come into effect in 2018.

The new data centre is in addition to two existing data centres located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with Sizmek pointing out that its services (such as ad servers and bidders) are deployed globally, with also consideration given to volume and latency issues.

Supporting operations in more strict environments

However, the new data centre in Frankfurt was built especially to support the main data processing and reporting services, in some of the region’s more stringent data processing regulations such as like Germany, and France.

“Data collection and processing is subjected to privacy and protection regulations and this was certainly one of the reasons to choose Europe and more specifically Frankfurt as a major hub for Sizmek data services,” according to the company.

Neil Nguyen, Sizmek, CEO, said the company was interested in not only meeting, but exceeding the current (and upcoming) data protection regulations across Europe.“The fact is our entire industry needs a greater amount of transparency when it comes to this issue,” he added.

The move also seems to be resonating with the needs of advertisers, with Sizmek quoting GroupM Connect’s process and partner integration director, Axel Jonuschies, as lauding its pre-emptive measure. "Marketers today deserve to know how and where data is being collected and processed. Consumers, likewise, should have the confidence to know their privacy is being respected,” he added.

GDPR measures starting to take place

With the upcoming implementation of GDPR, as well as the European Court of Justice’s decision to invalidate the Safe Harbour Agreement between the USA and Europe, there is a serious need for marketers, agencies (as well as their ad tech partners) to examine how they collect, process and store personal data.

GDPR had been discussed for four years in the European political institutions, and was passed in April, with the regulations set to come into force across the EU (including the UK) in 2018.

With those found to be in transgression of the new regulations facing fines of up to four per cent of their global revenue, the new EU-wide privacy rules pose fundamental challenges to all ‘data controllers’ (specifically ad tech outfits).

For instance, companies across Europe will collectively need to appoint over 28,000 new data protection officers (DPOs) ahead the enforcement of the GDPR, according to a report by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

In particular, those brands and agencies using programmatic advertising technologies will have to take heed of these warnings, as the regulations stipulate that GDPR applies to outfits whose “core activities” require “regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale”, according to the trade body.

Incumbent on advertisers is the need to assess the data value exchange between business and user, as well as better articulating this to consumers, in addition to gaining their permission to do so.

However, despite the foreboding, businesses that already have an open dialogue with consumers need not necessarily fear GDPR. Rather they should view it as a chance to cement their brand’s relationship with the public, according to the UK privacy watchdog the ICO, which is currently gauging businesses response to GDPR, before issuing more formal guidance.

GDPR in a post-Brexit UK?

The relevancy of GDPR in a post-Brexit UK has been one of the major questions marks faced by the marketing community here (indeed the current climate in the UK is felicitous for confusion). However, legal experts assert that, despite the ongoing confusion, marketers should not delineate from their plans prior to 23 June. This is because the UK is likely to still be subject to GDPR in 2018, given that the exact date of the formal completion of Brexit is unclear (the process is likely to take two years at least).

Speaking yesterday (Monday 4 July) Baroness Neville-Rolfe, UK minister for data protection, at the Privacy Laws and Business annual conference, commented: “I will start if I may by tackling the elephant in the room. Of course the world has been changed by Brexit and for a period the future will be more uncertain.”

She added: “So while the detailed future may be different from what was envisaged 10 days ago, the underlying reality on which policy is based has not changed all that much.

“One problem is that we do not know how closely the UK will be involved with the EU system in future.”

Read a full transcript of Baroness Neville-Rolfe’s speech here

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Ronan Shields

I'm the digital editor at The Drum, and cover adtech and martech. Prefer news and analysis, over opinion pieces. Current fascination(s) are blockchain and media futures trading; also curious about transhumanism on a personal basis. NYC-based, but really London Irish.

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