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Unlikely beneficiary: Google boosted by GDPR, study claims

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Google has emerged as an unlikely beneficiary of GDPR, despite the laws coming into place in an attempt to protect consumers from its web tracking practices.

New research from privacy software company Cliqz claims the law has unintentionally boosted the tech giant’s advertising business by hampering competition, according to figures.

Cliqz found that a month after GDPR came into force on 25th May, the number of trackers overall decreased except for a small few including Google, which is getting access to even more data than before.

Cliqz wrote: “For users this means that while the number of trackers asking for access to their data is decreasing, a tiny few (including Google) are getting even more of their data.”

The firm also stressed the negative effects GDPR has had on smaller advertisers, continuing: “The global online advertising market has an estimated volume of $270 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow by over 20% in the next two years. Before the introduction of the GDPR, the advertising industry was correspondingly concerned about the possible impact the GDPR would have on the advertising market and competition.

“A comparison of tracker prevalence of April against July reveals a clear picture: especially smaller advertising trackers have significantly lost reach (which can be used as a proxy for market share). They lost between 18% and 31%. Facebook suffered a decline of just under 7%. In contrast, market leader Google was even able to slightly increase its reach (plus 1%).”

Regulators prepare to issue fines

Meanwhile, regulators across Europe are set to exercise their new powers by handing out fines and even temporary bans on companies that breach a new EU privacy law, Reuters has reported.  

France and Italy alone have reported a 53% jump in complaints from last year, European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli revealed.

“I expect first GDPR fines for some cases by the end of the year. Not necessarily fines but also decisions to admonish the controllers, to impose a preliminary ban, a temporary ban or to give them an ultimatum,” he added.

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