Economics of the Free Internet
March 16, 2017 – Todd Ruback
Intuitively I’ve known for a long time that the “digital economy” is big, but I never realized just how big. For the curious, now we know. In a Harvard Business School report commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau, it is estimated that the Internet contributed approximately $1.121 TRILLION to the U.S. economy and accounted for more than 10 million jobs. Ok, I admit that I can’t get my head around these numbers, but they’re big, very big. Even more impressive, however, is its growth vector, with the digital economy almost doubling as a percentage of the Gross National Product, from 3.7% to 6%, in a mere four years.
If accurate, these metrics are astounding and I can only imagine similar impressive metrics in the EU. At the same time, though, I can’t help worrying that the European Commission’s proposal to alter the ePrivacy Directive could have a chilling effect on both economies, costing many countless jobs in both the US and EU. If enacted as presently proposed, the ePrivacy Regulation would automatically block by default many types of third party tracking that enable digital advertising and fund the free Internet that is clearly contributing so much to the overall economy. I have faith, however, that when the ePrivacy Regulation ultimately emerges, it will be balanced legislation that still aims to protect the confidentiality and privacy of electronic communications, while recognizing that the ad-supported free Internet is economically critical to us all.
Speaking of economics, it’s been reported that, as a result of last year’s Yahoo data breach, Verizon will now pay $350 million less for the acquisition. Separately, Home Depot has reportedly agreed to a $25 million settlement with a number of banks for damages they incurred from a 2014 data breach, in addition to other prior settlements by Home Depot, including at least $134.5 million to Visa, MasterCard and others, and a $19.5 million class action settlement.
In digital advertising news, don’t forget that the DAA Summit 2017 is fast approaching, June 13-15, and should be another tremendous event. It’s always sold out, so be sure to sign up here as soon as you can.
In Evidon news, we are working to get a better read on how companies are preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It would help us a lot if you could complete this survey about the state of your company’s preparations for GDPR. It should only take you a minute but it will give us solid data points so we can better serve our customers as we get closer to the GDPR’s go live date. In other Evidon news, check out Scott Meyer’s recent article discussing what marketers need to know about the GDPR, as well as my breakdown of the differences between the GDPR and the cookie law.
Finally, if you would like to receive the Dispatch via email every week, please sign up here and please follow me on Twitter at @CPORuback, where you can get even more insight and information on privacy and security topics.
Todd Ruback, Chief Privacy Officer