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German Media Giants Create ID Alliance to Compete with US Tech Giants

Vincent Flood  31 July, 2017

German FlagThree leading German media companies — ProSiebenSat.1, RTL Deutschland and United Internet AG.— have established a registration and single sign-on service in anticipation of the EU’s new GDPR regulations that are due to come into force in May 2018. The companies will partner with German web portal WEB.DE and email provider GMX to share an ID that will enable the companies’ 45 million users to log into each site using the same information.  Other companies will also be allowed to apply to take part in the initiative.

One of the concerns about the EU’s looming GDPR regulations on consumer privacy has been that it would favour the larger walled gardens like Facebook, Amazon and Google. This is because the EU wants to eliminate the trading of third party data where the consumer often hasn’t knowingly signed up for their data to be shared with other companies. The new rules will therefore favour companies who have first-party data in the hope that it will give consumers more control by making it easier for them to opt out should they wish to do so.

Commenting on the launch, Thomas Ebeling, CEO of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, said, “With our alliance, we are adding substantial value for the customer. At the same time, we are strengthening the German digital market by counterbalancing the monopolistic and unclear algorithms used by US players. The initiative has been deliberately designed as an open standard. Other companies are more than welcome to join us.”

Berlin-based fashion giant Zalando will be the first advertisers to use the solution (users will also be able to use the same ID to shop on their site). Robert Gentz, founder and co-CEO of Zalando, said, “For us, the customer always comes first. As the leading online fashion platform in Europe, this means that we also need to be a pioneer in the area of personalized services, which includes a secure and simple log-in solution and more transparent data management. Both of these are made possible thanks to the new alliance.”

The partners have agreed that an open standard will be created alongside a foundation to monitor the standard’s compliance and development. The foundation will be independent and will provide objective assistance with the implementation of EU data protection regulations and the planned ePrivacy regulation for online services.

The members of the alliance intend to implement the new log-in service and personal privacy centre before the end of this year and to it to customers in 2018. A statement said the alliance is also open to the idea of creating joint standards with other initiatives as well.

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