Adtech and its evolution are back on the ICO’s agenda

Marta Dunphy-Moriel and Alexander Dittel of Deloitte UK share their thoughts about where the regulator may be going in its aim to ensure privacy in the adtech industry.

On 22 January 2021, the ICO announced that its investigation into adtech has resumed. Initially launched in February 2019, the investigation was paused in May 2020 due to the pandemic. In the meantime, the ICO released its report into the data broking sector(1) with damning conclusions which will certainly have implications for the data brokers in the adtech sector.

Despite uncertainty around the demise of the third-party cookie, the adtech sector is experiencing unexpected growth and a rapid technological change. The ICO might have to deal not only with the existing technologies but also the emerging adtech. As the world’s third biggest online advertising market after the US and China(2), the UK will likely be at the forefront of these technological developments.

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