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Data Leakage

With countless website visitors every month, publishers process and store a large volume of audience information (non-PII) in their databases. These data points are sometimes provided (in the form of cookies or cookie IDs) to the SSPs (supply-side platforms) that pass it on to the DSPs (demand-side platforms). More often than not, the data is passed via the bid-request stream, the “bidstream.”

Yet, audience data is passed on during the process regardless of the outcome—even when a paid impression is not served. This is called data leakage. If that information is then used for other purposes (derivative works) that are not the publishers’ creation, and without the publishers’ knowledge, the marketplace moves toward a “race to the bottom” where the audience is bought and sold to the lowest bidder.

BPA Worldwide has been at the forefront of the battle against data leakage on behalf of the entire media industry. Below, we offer a number of resources to help you take on the challenge of data leakage and what can be done to prevent it.

List of tools, with descriptions and links

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    Open Letter to the Digital Advertising Industry

    In June 2020, BPA Worldwide published an Open Letter calling on the media industry – publishers, marketers and ad tech firms – to begin a dialog that defines use of publisher data generated through the programmatic ecosystem.

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    BPA Whitepaper: Data Leakage and the Bidstream

    BPA Worldwide’s whitepaper on the data leakage in the digital advertising process and why all publishers need to be aware of it.

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    Data Leakage: What It Is and How to Prevent it in the Bidstream

    This deck provides an overview data leakage and BPA Worldwide’s work on behalf of the publishing and media buying communities to combat this challenge that can occur during the real-time bidding process.

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    FOLIO: B2B Publishers Call to End Misuse in Online Ad Auctions

    June 17, 2020 – Folio: Magazine coverage of the data leakage problem and BPA Worldwide’s call to action.

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    Letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the Practice of Data Leakage​

    July 31, 2020 – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, Bill Cassidy, Maria Cantwell and Sherrod Brown co-authored a joint letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting it investigate the practice of illicit data harvesting within the bidstream process.

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    Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Urge FTC Probe of Mobile Ad Industry’s Tracking of Consumers

    July 31, 2020 – A group of members of Congress is asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to open an investigation into the mobile advertising industry’s practice of covertly tracking consumers using digital display ads.

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    AdExchanger: Lawmakers Call RTB An Unfair And Deceptive Business Practice In Letter To The FTC

    August 4, 2020 – A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the practice of real-time bidding.

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    FCC Journal: Lawmakers Urge FTC Probe of Mobile Ad Industry’s Tracking of Consumers​

    August 5, 2020 – Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Geoffrey Starks seeks more information from industry giants on the aggregation and monetization of consumer data during digital ad placement.

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    Proposed Updates of Terms & Conditions for Contractual Language Between Publishers and Agencies/Marketers

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