The next data revolution

The next data revolution

Kathrin Jennewein , 28. February 2022

Why privacy governance will make or break the internet

Jan Wittek is the new Chief Revenue Officer at eyeo. In this interview, he explains why privacy governance will make or break the internet in the next couple of years, and why a privacy revolution is needed to keep the internet free and safe for everyone.

Why do you think a privacy revolution is at our doorstep?

Tracking technology is continuously evolving and there are numerous options to merge data from several sources and services and aggregate sophisticated profiles. Users, on the other hand, reap the benefits and enjoy services free of charge in exchange for their data. It’s one of the ways the internet is able to offer free content. Advanced algorithms can predict if someone is suffering from depression or will be getting a divorce just from their online behavior –– sometimes even before the users themselves are aware of it. This compiling of information brings huge responsibilities and moral considerations which will revolutionize the way we use the internet going forward. Users, and society at large, are taking an ever larger role in the discourse and decision making of how privacy works. I think this is a positive development, and in the next few years we will see just how all of this evolves. 

How do we take the next steps?

A multi-stakeholder approach is needed. We at eyeo believe that it is crucial for us to find sustainable ways to achieve privacy for the future of the modern internet. It is a multi-stakeholder negotiation about user control, safe data storage and processing, and fostering a proper understanding of the risks and possible value creation with user data. We hope that we can foster such discussions at MozFest together with the right parties. 

Do you think that there can be a world with zero tracking and 100% privacy for all? 

The real question is would we want such an online world? There would be zero personalized services and no monetization opportunities for publishers/content creators to enable free content, as most internet services are running on some form of targeted advertising to finance themselves. Furthermore, 74% of users don’t mind advertisements provided that those ads don’t compromise their privacy and meet certain standards of quality (Blockthrough report 2021). This shows that there is a way for the online world to remain sustainable and beneficial for all stakeholders. The key is enabling the right balance!
For me, the most important part here is to give users transparency and freedom of choice. To make informed decisions, they need to fully understand what really happens to their data, but the reality is, many are still in the dark. In my ideal scenario users, advertisers and publishers would be in a position to negotiate with each other in an informed and equal way. 

For us as a company, we focus on providing solutions that enable data minimization but allow service providers to monetize through advertising. That’s what free choice and a fair value exchange means; these concepts are not at odds. It's very possible to protect users while still enabling all stakeholders to benefit. 

It’s also positive to see that many companies today are already taking a step in the right direction by discussing and working on privacy-first advertising solutions. We need solutions that offer individual privacy on a high level, but that ensure an open internet with free content and services will continue to exist in the future.  

Learn more about the newest changes in data privacy and the problems surrounding it by watching the replay of the Jan Wittek’s panelist MozFest session (registration required).

About eyeo
eyeo is dedicated to empowering a balanced and sustainable online value exchange for users, browsers, advertisers and publishers. By building, monetizing, and distributing ad-filtering technologies, we create solutions that allow all members of the online ecosystem to prosper. Our ad-filtering technology powers some of the largest ad blockers on the market, like Adblock Plus, Adblock and Adblock Browser, and is distributed through partnerships to millions of devices. We are constantly innovating to meet the expectations of the changing online world, with privacy solutions such as Crumbs, our white label browsers for distribution partners, and the Acceptable Ads Standard, which reaches over 225 million users.