Breaking Down AdTech: Cookies and Pixels and SDKs, Oh My!

Join us for this episode of Priv, where Dona Fraser is joined by Miles Light, Senior Counsel, Youth Privacy & Technology at BBB National Programs for an adtech block party. Cookies, pixels, and SDKs are all invited.

Appropriate for beginners and privacy pros, this podcast breaks down the most talked about issues in the adtech space, including the impact of the death of the cookie, the focus of regulators on the pixel, lessons learned from recent cases related to software developer kits (SDKs), what all of this looks like for children and teens, and what the legislative and regulatory road ahead looks like.  

Dona and Miles cover three main problems facing the ad tech industry: regulatory pressures, legislative pressures, and litigation. The conversation delves into the tracking technologies used in ad tech, such as cookies, pixels, and SDKs, and the implications of their use. They also explore the state and federal laws that impact ad tech, including the challenges of compliance and the varying approaches taken by different states. The episode concludes with a discussion on ongoing litigation related to ad tech tracking and the importance of auditing websites and cross-functional collaboration.

Key Takeaways:

  • (03:05) The adtech industry faces challenges from regulatory pressures, legislative pressures, and litigation. Regulatory bodies are increasingly scrutinizing the adtech sector to ensure consumer privacy and data protection. Legislative measures, such as GDPR and CCPA, and ongoing lawsuits also contribute to the complexity and risk within the industry.
  • (10:09) Tracking technologies like cookies, pixels, and SDKs are used in adtech to log consumer behavior online. These tools collect data on user interactions and preferences, enabling targeted advertising and personalized user experiences. However, their usage has raised significant privacy concerns and regulatory scrutiny.
  • (13:44) State and federal laws impact adtech, and compliance can be complex and varied. Different regions and jurisdictions have their own data protection laws, making it challenging for ad tech companies to navigate and ensure compliance. This patchwork of regulations requires companies to stay informed and adapt their practices continuously.
  • (27:27) Ongoing litigation related to adtech tracking raises questions about consent and liability. Legal cases often focus on whether consumers have given informed consent for their data to be collected and used. These lawsuits can result in significant penalties and drive changes in industry practices.
  • (38:27) Companies should regularly audit their websites and ensure cross-functional collaboration to address privacy challenges in adtech. Regular audits help identify and mitigate potential privacy risks and ensure compliance with relevant laws. Cross-functional collaboration between legal, IT, and marketing teams is essential to effectively manage these challenges and implement comprehensive privacy strategies.