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AiThority Interview with Ben Barokas, CEO and Co-founder at Sourcepoint

Ben Barokas
Most US-based businesses are yet to fully-understand the CCPA guidelines. Tell us about the unique features of CCPA that empower consumers? 

The focus of the CCPA is to safeguard data collected from Californian consumers by for-profit organizations handling higher levels of data (at least 50,000 consumers) or grossing over $25 million per year. In line with this, it also provides consumers with the ability to bring a legal case against companies in the event of a data breach; companies won’t be fined for overall lack of compliance.

Under CCPA — unlike the EU’s GDPR — applicable companies don’t require user permission before placing cookies and collecting information, but they must offer an explanation of what they are collecting and ensure any data used by third parties is protected. Users must also be able to select their preferences about what happens to that data — at any time. This means that while companies under GDPR must provide opt-in consent, CCPA offers an opt-out provision for consumers to decide whether or not their personal data can be sold to third parties. There must also be an instant stop to data use if user consent is denied or revoked, as well as provisions for no service or product discrimination against individuals.

The CCPA definition of “sale” includes “renting, releasing, disclosing, disseminating, making available, transferring, or otherwise communicating orally, in writing, or by electronic or other means” and refers to any data from a property. The definition of personal information includes any data that could be linked to a specific household — not just individuals — and gives consumers a stake in financial penalties. This means that in addition to a large fine, companies must pay affected individuals up to $7,500 in compensation, per incident.

How are you advising companies preparing for the CCPA disruptions?

For companies to become CCPA compliant, it’s essential that they now provide basic opt-out mechanisms. However, media owners can leverage CCPA and the compliance process as an opportunity to start conversations and build long-lasting, trusted, and profitable relationships.

We encourage companies to go this step further and empower individual users by optimizing interactions. This will foster the consumer trust that drives consent and results in a consistent flow of data that can be utilized to better understand user preferences and pinpoint compliant opportunities for monetization.

Do you think it’s a watershed moment in the history of the US (North America) Privacy Regulations? If yes, how?

Although it’s not the first privacy law to be passed in the US — states including Maine and Nevada already have iterations in place — CCPA is a significant piece of data privacy legislation and its roll-out is a strong indication that there is more to come. It’s going to be an interesting year, with the 2020 Washington Privacy Act and a Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act already being discussed; there have even been calls for a Federal level protection to be introduced.

In addition to emerging regulations (both in the US and globally), there is rising consumer awareness about how and where their personal data is used, and we’re also seeing companies prioritize privacy as a central feature in their products and services. Look at how Apple and Google Chrome have both put privacy at the forefront of their Tech and Marketing strategies to simplify personal data privacy protections and reassure consumers that they’re in safe hands; that consumers can trust them.

Like GDPR, would CCPA have a global impact on Marketing campaigns that run on consumer data?

Compliance with CCPA is an important step for organizations doing business in California and this will have a wide-ranging impact. When combined with current restrictions from the likes of Safari and planned changes to Chrome, which will see the demise of third-party cookies by 2022, it is likely to be a prompt for all businesses to think about the way they are leveraging compliant consumer data.

Those that look to maximize these new approaches to data protection — including CCPA — can actually develop deeper relationships with their consumers to drive greater levels of trust and transparency. This will allow room for more personalized experiences and more sustainable monetization options.

At Sourcepoint, what kind of consumer privacy benchmarks do you promise to customers and users? 

Built from years of experience supporting the publishing ecosystem, our flexible platform enables media owners to capture and syndicate compliance signals across a wide range of vendors, whether Advertising, Marketing or otherwise.

For CCPA-specific compliance, we offer complete support for capture and syndication of DO NOT SELL signals, as well as a streamlined customer-centric system, allowing companies to handle subject rights requests, easy to implement phone support, robust reporting on incoming requests from our clients’ consumers, and SLA management to meet the targets of CCPA. Our powerful message platform also allows companies to craft clear initial notification about data processing, ensuring on brand, easily understood messages that enhance the compliance process for users.

Overall, our tools and services allow companies to understand the data made available, and provide publishers with solutions to foster a compliant transparent value exchange with consumers in a privacy-first world.

With privacy regulations being introduced globally, how do businesses working in a data economy overcome the challenges of each one?

Rather than ignore the inevitable tide of regulations that are being introduced globally — including the planned Washington Privacy Act and recently announced Personal Data Protection Act in Thailand — we’re encouraging media owners to consider the key differentiators for each regional piece of legislation to ensure they’re complaint wherever they do business.

But for an industry that has traditionally relied on ad-based revenues, these companies need to move on from basic compliance to find a solution that is designed to optimize and monetize content. In a post-regulation world, media owners need to be utilizing consent signals to their advantage to build  sustainable operations in a compliant and user-friendly way.

With CCPA coming to effect, what are your predictions for your industry and technology markets for 2020-2024?

There’s little doubt that privacy regulations will continue to roll-out globally, including a possible Federal law in North America to override individual state laws. As these regulations move out of a ‘settling-in’ period, there’s likely to be stricter enforcement and repercussions for non-compliance. Only now, eighteen months after the introduction of GDPR, are the regulators such as CNIL in France and the ICO in the UK, dishing out large fines.

In turn, there will be an increasing focus on consumer products that support the demand for improved personal privacy protections. The survival of the publishing industry will depend on how it responds to these changes in data use and it will need to keep developing more sustainable options that don’t rely on third-party cookies — such as authenticated, identity-based log-ins — to enhance personalized experiences.

Another interesting growth area will be CTV audiences; broadcasters and the OTT industry need to consider their responsibilities in protecting the data of their multi-platform, multi-location audience.

Thank you, Ben! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

As co-founder and CEO, Ben leads the strategic direction of Sourcepoint and is an active member of the international startup community.

He has a proven track record for growing businesses that transform the digital content industry, founding and leading the preeminent supply-side platform, Admeld, to its acquisition by Google for a reported $400 million in 2011, where he then served as General Manager of the Global Marketplace Development team. Previously, he drove business and operations for JumpTV and AOL

Sourcepoint Logo

Sourcepoint is a consent management platform (CMP) and revenue optimization solution that supports a sustainable media ecosystem through a fair value exchange between consumers and publishers. We help publishers solve their monetization challenges and provide them with tools to protect consumer privacy, manage compliance and optimize engagement in a rapidly changing landscape.

Founded by a team of digital publishing veterans, and backed by Spark Capital, Foundry Group, Greycroft, Accel Partners, and Northzone, Sourcepoint’s objective is to solve a complex set of existential challenges faced by content creators in today’s digital publishing industry. Headquartered in New York with further offices in Berlin, London and Paris, the company works with global publishers including Dennis, Future and Prisma. Sourcepoint has been recognized for its work, winning ClickZ’s Best Data Privacy/GDPR Tool/Technology 2019, Digiday’s ‘Best use of technology’ 2017, and shortlisted as a finalist for AdExchanger’s Best Publisher-Side Technology 2019 and ‘Best Media Technology Partner’ at the AOP Digital Publishing Awards 2017 and 2019.

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