State Privacy Enforcement Heats Up, Google Responds

As new US state privacy laws come online, Google is taking care to help advertisers, publishers, and partners meet their own compliance needs. At Search Discovery, so are we. Learn what’s happening and get recommendations for your business.

Google’s Privacy Compliance Notice to Advertisers, Publishers, and Partners

Google recently released a notice detailing new terms to help advertisers, publishers, and partners meet compliance with the new US state privacy laws slated for enforcement in 2023 in California, Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut, and Utah. The notice specifies the following:

  1. Google’s expanded support for restricted data processing—that is, how it “uses certain data to only undertake certain activities”, and
  2. Google’s updated service-provider and processor terms. The notice also prompts considerations for advertisers and publishers as they prepare for these laws to take effect.

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Why Google’s Notice is Important for Your Business

Google’s updated terms reflect changes businesses need to take to comply with the new laws. The following changes may be important to your business.

  • Restricted Data Processing – Google is expanding the operation of restricted data processing, which works differently across Google products. Google specifies that advertisers, publishers, and partners are responsible for ensuring that restricted data processing meets their state’s compliance requirements. Further, when an advertiser, publisher, or partner needs to take action to enable restricted data processing, it’s up to that business to decide when and how to enable it.
  • Service-Provider and Processor Terms – In certain circumstances, Google will act as a brand’s service provider (or processor) when restricted data processing is enabled. These circumstances are nuanced, and they differ within and across tools, but the gist of Google’s message is this: Advertisers, publishers, and partners should review their terms carefully to make sure they’re compliant regarding how they collect data.

As states begin to enforce their laws, you will need to ensure the contract configurations of your Google tools continue to meet legal obligations that may apply to your use cases to limit legal liability and risk.

Our Recommendations

  • We recommend evaluating the need for—and potentially enabling—Restricted Data Processing in your Ad Manager account. Your organization should evaluate restricting all data processing, compared to using IP identification/user opt-out to pass a restricted processing signal. In both instances, it will change how those products work. Depending on the products involved, these activities will change how Google uses data in the provision of services such as: ad delivery, debugging, reporting, and measurement, as well as security and fraud detection. Google Ads, for example, will lose the ability to remarket, and see a loss of interest and demographic targeting for the US states where the feature is enabled.
  • We recommend that your compliance / legal team reviews the new service provider terms to ensure they meet your obligations under the various laws and regulations to which you may be subject.
  • We recommend that you have a bridge in place between your data and technology stakeholders and your legal counsel. We are well suited to perform this role and to conduct a privacy regulation compliance audit to support conversations with legal counsel.

Please know that Search Discovery is monitoring these developments closely, and we’re available for conversations should you have any questions or concerns.

Read more of our recent privacy-related posts and stay tuned for our 2023 Trends Outlook publication, which will contain nuanced detail about anticipated data privacy shifts.

Contact us today to talk more about what Google’s announcement means for your business and all your data privacy concerns and needs. We can help.

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