EU Strikes Down Privacy Shield; LiveRamp Acquires Retail Analytics Startup

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Privacy Trade War

The EU struck down the US-EU Privacy Shield, the transatlantic data-sharing framework. More than 5,300 companies, most of them small or medium enterprises, rely on the Privacy Shield, and will now need additional contractual agreements directly with users to continue using data on both sides of the Atlantic, BBC reports. The decision is another win for privacy activist Max Schrems, who argued that the Privacy Shield isn’t sufficient because of how the US government accesses and uses data in the states (the case rests on evidence exposed by Edward Snowden). “What we are seeing here looks suspiciously like a privacy trade war, where Europe is saying their data standards can be trusted but those in the US cannot,” said Jonathan Kewley, co-head of technology at law firm Clifford Chance.

Up The Ramp

LiveRamp has acquired the Paris-based retail marketing analytics startup Acuity Data, founded by Procter & Gamble vets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Acuity was a 10-person team, so it looks more like an acqui-hire. Acuity Data will be folded into LiveRamp’s Safe Haven product. Last year, LiveRamp bought the Dutch consent management platform Faktor and the TV analytics and attribution provider Data Plus Math, though that was a splashier $150 million deal. Though LiveRamp’s M&A hasn’t just been as a buyer, since the company quietly sold off its location data practice last year, due to potential regulatory or privacy blowback.

Can It Stack Up?

Is Substack the next digital media empire? Many general readers don’t know Substack, the go-to newsletter service for writers and reporters who venture out on their own with independent subscriptions. But Substack grows its own brand alongside writers, because it channels traffic through a domain and has its logo on all the blogs and newsletters. It’s like Medium … but, viable. Substack recently announced legal support for writers, including pre-publication review of stories and responses to cease-and-desist letters. And it isn’t stopping with legal. “We will make a large investment in a services program that includes initiatives related to healthcare, personal finance, editing, distribution, design, and coworking spaces. In our view, being independent shouldn’t mean being alone,” according to a Substack blog post. That sounds like a decentralized newsroom.

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