Thought Leadership

Michael Barrett on GDPR and Privacy

May 20, 2019

For the one-year anniversary of GDPR, Rubicon Project CEO Michael Barrett offers his thoughts on its lasting impact, and how privacy regulation will continue to shape the industry in the coming years.


How do you envision GDPR affecting the ad tech industry in the near future?

I think it’s pretty much business as usual in the near future. I know that we have the IAB initiative 2.0 coming up, and Google’s participation in that, so there’ll be some choppy waters and some displacement.

But I think by and large we’ve seen what GDPR is, and even if there’s new consent management platforms and new paths that consumers have to go through, I think they pretty much have voted that they’re willing to receive ads in exchange for access to free content. So I think GDPR will never be settled, but I think it’s just going to be iterations of what we saw this time last year.

Of course, then there’s California’s privacy initiative in the US. Next it’ll be other areas in the globe. It will be never ending. But keep in mind, it’s generally all good for us and for the industry, largely because it’s forcing us to accept a non-cookie world, which is great.

We’ve got to get off cookies. And it’s good for the consumer – and both things are good for Rubicon.

Where do you think the US market will shift around privacy in the coming years?

It will look very much like GDPR, maybe with even more teeth. So the hope is that instead of states going with their own version of it, that the US government actually does step up and on a national level comes up with a privacy policy initiative for consumers in the US.

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