Google May Pay Publishers For Content; Gillibrand Proposes New Data Protection Agency

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License To Bill

Google is considering a shift in its relationship with news publishers, by paying them direct licensing fees for the right to publish content in a potential free news service, according to The Wall Street Journal. Caveats: Financial terms of the deals aren’t known, and people with knowledge of the negotiations said the focus has been in Europe. That makes sense, considering the EU has new copyright laws designed to give publishers leverage over online platforms and search engines that display their content. Apple and Facebook have both adopted licensing models – for Facebook’s Instant Articles fee and to fill out Apple News Plus, the subscription news service. But licensing deals with Google would be a “watershed moment” for publishers desperate to win back some of the search engine’s control of traffic and share of advertising. More.

Protecting The Data

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, introduced legislation late last week that would create an independent government entity to enforce consumer data protection, investigate consumer complaints and launch investigations into data malpractice, Forbes reports. But wait … doesn’t the Federal Trade Commission already do all these things? Yes, but not well enough, according to Gillibrand, who accused the FTC of inaction. The FTC “has failed to enforce its own orders and has failed to act on dozens of detailed consumer privacy complaints,” the senator said in a release. The FTC, obviously, begs to differ. “The FTC is up to the task … we were doing privacy before privacy was cool,” Andrew Smith, director of the commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told attendees at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference in January. “We’ve brought 60 data security cases, 70 privacy cases and whenever people have given us a new law, we have made the rules, we have brought the enforcement actions and, truly, there isn’t a privacy regulator anywhere in the world that even comes close.”

FT-See You Soon

Speaking of the FTC, the agency last week ordered Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon to hand over details on acquisitions from the past decade, as part of a review of the agency’s own previous antitrust merger reviews. There have been blockbusters like Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods and Microsoft buying LinkedIn. But smaller deals have more at stake. Google’s $1.1 billion acquisition of the mapping service Waze in 2013, which was quickly approved at the time, is in for scrutiny, Bloomberg reports. Unlike other deals, Google made a horizontal move by taking a Google Maps rival out of contention with Waze (Amazon and Microsoft can at least claim they didn’t previously own a grocery chain or social media network). “New ad formats in Google Maps have clear similarities to existing formats in Waze (coincidence?),” wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney in an investor note. “Google has now collected enough data through Waze to effectively roll out broader solutions for advertisers in Google Maps and provide them attractive returns on investment without severely impacting the user experience.” More.

But Wait, There’s More

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