The European Commission on Friday backed a plan for the continent's four biggest telecoms firms to move into the ad-tech industry dominated by Google and Facebook owner Meta.
|EU backs telecom firms' ad-tech plan, photo NOAH BERGER / AFP |
The Commission approved a proposal from Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica to set up a platform for sharing anonymised user data with other companies to use for marketing and advertising.
The system would act as an alternative to cookies, the software used by the likes of Google and Meta to track users around the web that has fallen foul of European data privacy rules.
The Commission said it had reviewed the joint venture plans and "concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns in the EEA and cleared the case unconditionally".
Under the plan, any users that opt-in will have a unique digital code assigned to them to "allow brands and publishers to recognise users on their websites or applications" and target them accordingly, according to the Commission.
The four European firms have stressed that the new initiative -- which will cover users in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK -- will respect the bloc's privacy rules.
"The only data shared is a pseudo-anonymised and non-reversible digital token," they said in a statement.
"Consumers are free to give or refuse their consent with a single click, as well as to revoke any other consent previously given."
The system, which has already been tested in Germany, will now be further tested with pilot schemes in France and Spain.
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