Identity, Advertising and the
Future of Journalism

A  CALL  TO  ACTION

NEWS RELEASE |  PRINTABLE PDF DOWNLOAD

April 30, 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

The internet is at a crossroads. Built and designed around the url, the internet of the future increasingly pivots around the user, and that user’s personal data. 

Tech companies have grown wealthy and powerful by harnessing and matching up vast tranches of personal data with personal identity for advertising purposes. Companies now know that the person living at 1234 Maple Street is a young man who likes fast cars and votes Republican. That knowledge has been achieved with little to no accountability to the individual whose privacy has been ignored (or breached) — or to society. The negative social impacts have been especially visible in the past decade as bad actors have been able to use personalization algorithms to misinform specific groups and amplify our worst fears and darkest emotions.

Deep in a misinformation crisis, we need an active free press. Yet, in an ironic twist, the press has been decimated by the pivot to personal data, as advertisers have migrated from context-based advertising in news outlets to algorithm-driven personalized advertising on tech platforms. The result has been the loss of hundreds of credible news organizations. As news outlets try to do more with less, they are less able to combat misinformation; as the public loses trust in the information they can find, they lose trust as well in the press, the very institution designed to protect us against misinformation. Without trusted watchdogs like the press to inform us and hold our public leaders accountable, our democracy stands on shaky ground. 

We need an internet that shores up democracy, one that is free, open, and transparent and respects individual rights like privacy and autonomy. To do this, we have to rebuild the internet around personal, verifiable identity. Instead of the Wild West of algorithms designed to maximize clicks and views, we need to support quality journalism through tools that enable people to effectively manage their digital identity themselves or through a trusted intermediary, with oversight from public-interest driven, independent governance bodies. And we need to build the means for trustworthy content providers like news organizations to authenticate personal data to ensure that identity can’t be poached or misused. 

From January to March 2021, the Information Trust Exchange Governing Association (ITEGA) convened key experts in a three-webinar series aimed at connecting the dots among privacy, identity and trusted information.  The series, Identity, Advertising and the Future of Journalism,” invited thought leaders in local and national journalism, digital advertising, digital identity, privacy, and open-source development to share their experiences and ideas on the role of digital identity in content monetization; the evolving data protection regulatory environment and its impact on small and mid-sized news organizations; and novel approaches to privacy and identity management that embrace transparency and accountability — and offer a path forward for publishers and advertisers.  (READ PRELIMINARY NARRATIVE)

RECOMMENDATIONS

These webinars — and more than two years researching the privacy and identity web landscape — inform a set of four recommendations from ITEGA. We recommend that foundations, publishers, technology companies and privacy NGOs create or collaborate with a public-benefit nonprofit organization to:

  • FUND new business models for small and mid-sized news publishers that offer options for building trust with audiences (such as privacy controls, allowing them to become trusted intermediaries or fiduciaries, or joining a shared content/advertising network), and include independent oversight.
     
  • DESIGNATE protocols, define identity attributes, and specify methods for authenticating and sharing permissioned user data across the Internet that put control of their identity in user’s hands, support publishers of all sizes, and promote healthy market competition.
  • IDENTIFY OR CREATE and embrace methods for auditing the application and sharing of user personal information — suitable for citation in law or open governance — that can be the basis for public certification of networks and participants. 
  • COLLABORATE with governments, industry and public advocates to align the goals of a public-benefit organization with existing and anticipated digital identity and privacy models, and regulations.

Consensus among webinar participants suggests agreement that:

  • Enforceable rules around the secure, transparent and auditable management of digital identities must be included in any solution to the problem of unfettered data collection, platform dominance in advertising and content distribution, and decreases in news revenue.
  • A credible system for the exchange and use of digital identities must have independent governance, preferably led by a public benefit nonprofit, to succeed. 
  • A U.S. federal privacy law will provide more certainty for stakeholders and should offer guidance on governance of a digital advertising/identity ecosystem.
  • Small and mid-sized news organizations are being left behind in recent identity and advertising proposals put forth by industry coalitions. These proposals lack adequate transparency and accountability mechanisms, mimic the current system in terms of profiling and tracking at scale, and would likely serve to further entrench the dominance of large companies and platforms.
  • News organizations should leverage public trust by adopting new business models that leverage trust with consumers, such as shared content/advertising networks, becoming a trusted intermediary for consumers or an “information fiduciary.”

ABOUT ITEGA

The Information Trust Exchange Governing Association (ITEGA), a 501(c)3 public-benefit corporation, fosters a digital marketplace that respects user privacy and enables trustworthy identity. It provides Internet stakeholders a forum to convene, develop and implement governing protocols and business rules for protecting and balancing trust, privacy, identity and information commerce. ITEGA envisions the Internet as a global marketplace for information and ideas that is guided by democratic values such as privacy and free speech. In this vision, individuals can manage their identity and personal data without sacrificing their privacy and content producers can monetize without losing value and autonomy to private platforms.

WEBINAR SERIES OVERVIEW

The January-March 2021 webinar series was part of ITEGA’s vision to serve editors, researchers, technologists, entrepreneurs and journalism advocates taking on the task of making a new market for digital information — governed by a public-benefit consortium – and committed to respecting individual identity and privacy.  

Landscape observations

The three webinars, and more than two years of research by the Information Trust Exchange Governing Association inform these four “landscape” observations:  

  • A stalemate among competing interests of marketers, publishers and technology companies is leaving the public with little ability to effectively manage or control personal information coursing through the business or publishing web.

  • While the European Union took early action with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), progress in the United States is piecemeal and state-specific; and Congress remains divided. A solution imposed by the Untied States will not be global, anyway.

  • U.S. advertising-tech leadership has moved close to a partial solution, but has appeared unwilling to cede control of consumer  identity authentication  to a public-interest structure that could be global in impact and similar to the way Internet domain names are governed.

  • Thus, there is an urgent need to develop consensus with leadership by a public-benefit entity with sufficient gravitas and resources  to create a public-option for web identity. 

The first webinar highlighted links among journalism, identity, privacy and digital advertising, then looked more closely at how the current system has undermined privacy, advantaged private platforms, and damaged the credibility of news organizations. 

The second webinar examined each of the problems presented in the first and considered potential solutions and opportunities. 

The third and final webinar dove deep into proposed solutions for identity in advertising, assessing their impact on small and mid-sized news publishers, advertisers, and consumers. 

WEBINAR 1: Identity, Advertising and the Future of Journalism

BIOS OF JAN. 7 SPEAKERS  | READ THE CHAT TRANSCRIPT | WATCH THE VIDEO 

WEBINAR 2: The Digital Tsunami: Exploring the Shifts in Identity and Privacy That Will Change Advertising and Journalism Forever

BIOS OF JAN. 21 SPEAKERS | READ THE CHAT TRANSCRIPT | WATCH THE VIDEO

WEBINAR 3: Digital Identity: Blueprinting the Way for Journalism and Privacy
BIOS OF MARCH 4 SPEAKERS | READ CHAT TRANSCRIPT | WATCH THE VIDEO

The webinar discussions focused predominantly on three themes: Existing Challenges, Who Should Control Digital Identity? and New Ideas and Solutions. We discuss each below and in more detail in a Preliminary Webinar Narrative

EXISTING CHALLENGES: 
The Gilded Cage of Programmatic 

Currently, the “open” Internet isn’t meeting the business or privacy needs of publishers or advertisers when compared with platforms such as Facebook, but participants in the Jan. 7 webinar voiced concerns over moving away from today’s model. 

A lawyer for The McClatchy Co., a major U.S. newspaper publisher, said that publishers feel unable to abandon programmatic advertising, driven largely by Facebook and Google, without a demonstrated alternative for “contextual advertising” that could reliably generate revenue.

“If there was a contextual model that was demonstrated and there was some sort of cushion to help us make those transitions, if there was a unified agreement among the publishing industry that didn’t breach antitrust and corruption laws, in order to change the model, that would be fine,” said Meg Eason, a McClatchy senior counsel who focuses in part on privacy law and compliance.

Representatives from ad tech companies said the only way to compete with Facebook, YouTube and other technology platforms is for publishers to do two seemingly contradictory things — first, give users control over their privacy and use of data and then, be able to “address” them with targeted advertising as efficiently as Facebook asserts it does. The current programmatic, real-time-bidding system, doesn’t do either, they said. Some acknowledged the need for ad tech to take responsibility for past problems and adopt new privacy-centered approaches.  

“We have to stand up as an advertising industry and acknowledge we messed up,” said LiveRamp executive Travis Clinger. “We lost the trust of the consumer and we built a horribly inefficient ecosystem.” He added that it’s time to abandon the third-party cookie and “other nefarious forms of targeting” otherwise, he said: “In five years there won’t be an open internet if we don’t improve this. We’ll all be getting our information from Facebook and the other walled gardens.” 

Widespread collection and sharing of data “breadcrumbs” across the web to multiple parties have caused the public to lose faith in aspects of digital advertising, said Jordan Mitchell, senior vice president, consumer privacy, identity and data for the IAB Tech Lab. He criticized browser makers for a “dangerous” effort to “establish custody over the consumer,” using changes in the way browsers handle user identity to make data sharing choices for people. Mitchell thought it better to have what he called “predictable privacy” through open-web standards and consumer choice over which “first party” is going to help manage their data.

EXISTING CHALLENGES:
Competing With Walled Gardens

Today, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon all offer “single-sign-on” identity services to their users, allowing them to track consumer behavior across the Internet and within what experts term their “walled gardens.” 

Without a similar capability for independent advertising-technology services on the open web, news websites will wither, argued Bill Michels, general manager, product, at The Trade Desk, because brands want access to user preference data to serve “interested-based advertising.” The Trade Desk is building an open web, distributed-identity system for the digital advertising industry, which it calls Unified ID 2.0 (UID2). 

Michels argued that the “walled garden” platforms would, without something like UID2, increase their already dominant share of web advertising. “And if there’s no identity, and a safe way to do that, on the open Internet, all of those [advertiser] funds are just going to move to where it’s easiest to do it,” said Michels. “From a practical matter, if there is no identity on the open Internet, those sites will just go away. . . there will be no newspapers.” 

“Doc” Searls, former ad-agency executive and founder of Project VRM at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, countered that he thought Michel’s prediction was potentially inaccurate. That’s because quality-brand advertisers will want to find editorial “context” for their messages, Searls believes, rather than adopt what he called a “direct-marketing” approach of targeting ads with knowledge of an individual consumer’s behavior. “Trying to fix programmatic ad tech, which is tracking-based advertising, with anything that adapts from that model is not going to work,” Searls said. “The operators have way too much vested interest in it, there’s too much money in it. They are too in bed with it. And the worst part of it is approximately no publications are willing to grab the third rail of their dependence on it.”

“Trying to fix programmatic ad tech, which is tracking-based advertising, with anything that adapts from that model is not going to work.”
Doc Searls, privacy advocate, former ad executive and founder of Project VRM at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society 

 

Michels explained that UID2 will work by asking publishers to provide PreBid.org, a nonprofit, ad-industry-controlled trade group that will operate UID2, with email addresses of their subscribers, in what he characterized as “an explicit permission to use data.” The UID2 system will then encrypt the emails with a “hashing and salting” protocol so that, while participants in the system can track a unique individual across the web, they wouldn’t have any personal identifying information (PII) linking a real person — at least not via the UID2 system. Michels said authorized ad-industry participants in the system would be supplied with a decryption key allowing them to discover the embedded email address.


WHO SHOULD CONTROL DIGITAL IDENTITY?:
A Role of Government?

Shifting control of digital identity away from big-tech platforms to individuals — perhaps assisted by news organizations or other agents — was among ideas discussed in the first of the three webinars.

The original Internet structure created the conditions for the current lack of governance or personal control over identity, said Drummond Reed, chief trust officer of Evernym Inc. and the Trust Over IP Foundation (and an ITEGA advisor). “It comes down to a single world: control. We don’t have control over the information we’re sharing on the internet or over the identities we have on the internet.” A shift from account-based identity to what Reed calls “self-sovereign identity” is needed, he said.

New laws or regulations may be necessary to make the shift because participants in the current advertising-supported Internet — including ad-tech companies as well as publishers who feel forced to do the bidding of Facebook and Google — will not change against their economic interest, said participants in the Jan. 7 webinar. Moderator Sally Hubbard, of the Open Markets Institute, emphasized the importance of oversight of the platforms, citing their ability to hypertarget advertising and amplify disinformation. Relying on corporations to work against their own profit interests through self regulation won’t work, she said.

The right approach to regulation, whether via a federal privacy law or a self-regulatory scheme, was a topic in the Jan. 21 webinar as well. Wally Snyder, executive director of the Institute for Advertising Ethics and an ex-FTC and advertising-industry executive, moderated the Jan. 21 webinar and said the answer was likely a government-private governance relationship. “When we talk here about working together and self regulation, the understanding is that the government has to be present,” he said. “It has to be there to back up, oftentimes often to see what the legal guidelines are.” Mathieu Roche, CEO of British user-identity management firm ID5, acknowledged that privacy regulation is needed. “We need to have a legal framework that forces transparency and gives consumer control,” he said. Key questions emerged: What should the contours of a legal framework include? Should the government enforce accountability or should it empower other entities, such as a public-benefit organization, to do so?

“It comes down to a single world: control. We don’t have control over the information we’re sharing on the internet or over the identities we have on the internet.”

Drummond Reed, Chief Trust Officer, Evernym 

Speakers discussed the feasibility of a trusted party — government or nonprofit — that would be responsible for governing compliance with privacy and identity rules and the exchange of value, financial or otherwise. U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., bipartisan digital identity bill cosponsor, suggested that there is a role for the government in assuring a single trusted identity for each of us.

WHO SHOULD CONTROL DIGITAL IDENTITY?:
Need for Independent Oversight 

The need for a watchdog to make sure companies working with consumer privacy and identity are living up to ethical and business promises was emphasized by James Vasile, a former lawyer and current board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who now co-heads a technology-development firm, Open Tech Strategies

Open source is table stakes for trust, said Vasile. But there is a problem with knowing whether everyone is running the same technology on the server side. He said: “If you want to make promises, you have to offer something that is inspectable. Because as we’ve seen time and time again, every time somebody makes promises, but we don’t have third-party inspection, it always turns out that they were lying.”

In an apparent reference to UID2, Vasile added: “And … no amount of open-source transparency goodness is going to reassure people [when] you’ve given them some sort of tracking number that is going to follow them from website to website and allow anybody to build profiles of all their surfing activity.”

Michaels, from The Trade Desk, responded that The Trade Desk was using a “flavor” of open source “that puts ownership out into the industry.” Vasile agreed that an open-source approach was a piece of the puzzle, but that technology alone couldn’t assure that privacy and identity promises to the public are met.  “It’s a piece of the puzzle,” said Vasile. “But not without the oversight, without the governing authority or third-party auditing . . . .”

“[Lack of auditing] is a very big part of the problem altogether. Brands invest [in Facebook] because they believe it works – because the platforms told them so.

Travis Clinger, senior vice president, addressability and ecosystem, LiveRamp


Underscoring this point, Lisa Macpherson, of the advocacy group
Public Knowledge, said advertisers should be “asking hard questions about whether programmatic is working for them on any basis other than efficiency, because of ad fraud, and viewability and ad blockers and non-quality contexts for their brands.”

Clinger agreed, adding that Facebook’s performance is not audited by any third party, nor is the performance of Google advertising. “This is a very big part of the problem altogether,” he said. “Brands invest because they believe it works because the platforms told them so.”

NEW IDEAS AND SOLUTIONS:
UDEX Cloud Cohorts vs Google-Controlled FloCs

Clickshare Service Corp. CEO Rick Lerner outlined a user data exchange service (UDEX) that his company designed in 2016-2017 during his participation in ITEGA’s technology task-group meetings. With a user’s permission, a publisher could share data about the user’s interests to a cloud-based service. To start, a publisher would encrypt a user’s ID, and interest data would be used to assign the now-anonymized user to one or more “interest cohorts.” An advertiser could then query if a user is in a relevant interest cohort in the instant before deciding whether to serve a particular ad. The advertising networks would never learn the identity of the user, but they would receive a unique code when a user sees a particular ad so they can “frequency cap” and sequence subsequent views logically. The unique code would differ for each ad served and would be good for about a week.  

In another approach to cohort-based advertising, Google Inc. has announced its intention to test ad-targeting called “FLoC” (Federal Learning of Cohorts). The matching would occur inside the Chrome browser, which is owned and controlled by Google. By contrast, the UDEX proposal would be governed by a public nonprofit such as ITEGA. 

“With the UDEX, the notion is that each ad tech group gets a different identity ID for a person, largely those are different for different ad tech groups, and certainly would be different for different networks. And they would be short lived,” Lerner explained.


NEW IDEAS AND SOLUTIONS:
A Communal Garden

A consumer privacy law that requires a consumer’s opt-in to use her data is worrisome in the sense that it might be hard to get such permissions, said Scott Cunningham, a consultant to the Local Media Consortium (LMC), a group of 90 U.S. publishers with thousands of websites with 200 million unique monthly visitors. LMC is seeking to assemble what Cunningham called “a communal garden around all the publishers in the United States.” It’s working title is “NewsNext.” From a news perspective, said Cunningham, “I believed in the open web and in programmatic but it has not worked for news publishers. It just hasn’t. I mean it has been a race to the bottom on the CPMs  . . . News publishers can’t actually function in a healthy way on the open web.” 

“I believed in the open web and in programmatic but it has not worked for news publishers. It just hasn’t. I mean it has been a race to the bottom on the CPMs. 

News publishers can’t actually function in a healthy way on the open web.” 
Scott Cunningham, project lead on NewsNext for the Local Media Consortium and founder of the IAB Tech Lab.

 

The NewsNext goal is to change that, he said, by consolidating the independent audiences of hundreds of publishing sites so that they can be addressed easily by advertisers, to encourage users to register with email addresses “and also to acquire consent where required and needed for advertising targeting.” He added: “The news publishers are absolutely on board with wanting to take advantage of where the privacy direction is going.”  Cunningham also said LMC’s research finds that advertisers do want a way to address consumers with specific interests, and they also do not want to be accused of targeting consumers without permission. 


NEW IDEAS AND SOLUTIONS:
Shared Subscriptions and Subsidies

Shared-user subscriptions and a proposal for government-backed payments to fund journalism were presented in the March 4 webinar as additional methods to support journalism beyond advertising technology. 

Webinar participant Creative Circle Media Solutions is launching an effort to get news publishers to join a shared-user network in which a subscription account at one news site would provide access to many other news sites as well. “We’ve been working to try to get interest developed for the existing payload vendors in the newspaper industry, to create a single sign on — something that would probably query, when you log in, you would tell them what you were logging in with,” said Creative Circle’s CEO, Bill Ostendorf. “And then it would query that database and let you in.” He said he was attracted to ITEGA governance model “because someone would have to hold the key to this shared sign on.” 

The idea of providing some sort of government subsidy to U.S. news publishers was raised by Consumer Reports’ Digital Labs director Ben Moskowitz. Loss of advertising has put current publishers under “terrific pressure” he said. He noted a proposal by the nonprofit think-tank Public Knowledge for a “superfund” for journalism, which was presented in the second webinar of the series by Public Knowledge’s Macpherson.

“I love the idea of the ticket — you can buy into a network of sites,” said Moskowitz. He said agreeing to give up personal data shouldn’t be the only way to be informed, although it can certainly be one way. “As publishers do look at their options going forward, such as UID2 and hashed email, authentication-based systems, those registration-based systems are definitely one way of maintaining addressability,” he said. 

Brendan Riordan-Butterworth, a technical advisor to ITEGA who formerly worked for the IAB Tech Lab and Microsoft, joined the discussion to offer a summary of what he called four elements of a “cocktail” of options available to news publishers: 1) a hashed-email base, like UID2; 2) Google’s “put-personal-data-in the web browser” solution; 3) user data solicited by publishers directly from their own users; 4) selling advertising merely based on adjacency to quality content — so-called “contextual” ads.

NEW IDEAS AND SOLUTIONS:
Leveraging Trust

ITEGA board member Linda Miller, a former newspaper and public-radio editor and executive, remarked: “There is still quite a bit of trust in local news. And . . . it is not able to be leveraged because of the way the advertising system is now set up. What if our users really trusted us with their identifying data?”

Moskovitz, the Consumer Reports researcher, posed a final idea for publishers to consider. He acknowledged that there will be “some surveillance-based content underwriting through advertising” which he said would not be a bad thing unless it were the only option for the public. He suggested the emergence of “trusted intermediaries” for the public could give the public the ability to bargain over data. CR is taking “baby steps” into the idea of becoming an intermediary, or “authorized agent,” for consumers as defined by the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA).

“It does seem like we’re about to enter a new moment where intermediaries are going to be part of the next wave of innovation.” 
Ben Moskovitz, founding director of the Digital Lab at Consumer Reports

A consumer might say to such an agent, according to Moskowitz:  “I’m going to trust you to go out and opt me out of the data, that’s not good for me, or to delete my data for data brokers basically take the actions, I don’t have the time or the wherewithal to do, but I implicitly trust you to do it for me.” Concluded Moskowitz: “It does seem like we’re about to enter a new moment where intermediaries are going to be part of the next wave of innovation, so to speak.”

Richard Whitt, president of the Glia Foundation and a Mozilla fellow who spent more than a decade as a strategy executive at Google Inc., suggested publishers consider an additional business model besides advertising and subscriptions, operating as “information fiduciaries” to help their users with identity, privacy and finding information. Eason said she found the idea of interest, but added that right now, “We are journalists, we are reporters, we are not tech companies and we are not privacy experts.”

 

APPENDIX A

WEBINAR PARTICIPANTS

January 7, 2021 webinar

DISCUSSION LEADER

Sally Hubbard, author, director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute;. Hubbard is a former New York assistant attorney general antitrust prosecutor, and author of “Monopolies Suck: 7 Ways Big Corporations Rule Your Life and How to Take Back Control.” She founded and hosted Women Killing It!, a podcast series. Combining her two passions of antitrust and women’s rights, Sally helped pioneer the study of the relationship between concentrated market power and gender inequality. She has written for national media and appeared on a range of news outlets. She holds a law degree from New York University School of Law.

DISCUSSION PARTICIPANTS (alpha order): 

Cameron D’Ambrosi, Principal, One World Identity LLC
D’Ambrosi directs client services for OWI, a market intelligence and strategy firm focused on identity, trust and the data economy. Previously he was a consultant and then manager at Deloitte, working on anti-money laundering for banks and broker/dealers. His career began in the securities industry on Wall Street. His BA in history is from Fordham University.

Meg Eason, senior corporate counsel, The McClatchy Company
Eason is based in North Carolina where she leads legal aspect of the newspaper chain’s privacy-compliance efforts. She has worked in contracts at LexisNexis and in various marketing roles. She combines an undergraduate degree in strategic communications with a law degree, both from the University of North Carolina. 

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., bipartisan digital identity bill cosponsor
Foster represents outer suburbs of Chicago and brings experience as a business entrenprenur and high-energy physicist to authorship of one of the most promising bipartisan efforts to address web identity and privacy. His father was a civil rights lawyer who wrote much of the enforcement language behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Holds undergraduate and doctorates in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard, respectively. 

Dipayan Ghosh, co-director, Digital Platforms & Democracy Project, Harvard-JFK-Shorenstein
Ghosh previously worked at Facebook on strategies to address privacy and security issues. Before that, he was a tech and economic advisor in the Obama White House. He now directs the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and teaches at Harvard Law School. He earned degrees in electrical engineering and computer science at Cornell, and a Ph.D., from MIT. He writes extensively on digital privacy, AI, disinformation and internet economics. 

Fanny Hidveg, European Policy Manager, AccessNow
Hidvegi is a lawyer focused on privacy tech, human rights, freedom of information, data control and transfer from the Brussels office of AccessNow advocacy nonprofit. Previously she focused on E.U.-U.S. data transfer rules for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. Earlier, she headed the data protection and freedom of information program of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union. 

Drummond Reed, Chief Trust Officer, Everyn Inc.
Reed has been a technology advisor to ITEGA since 2015 and has spent over two decades working on internet identity, security, privacy and trust frameworks for private ventures, foundations and through the World Wide Web Consortium. Evernym provides services focused on decentralized identifiers and self-sovereign identity. Prior to starting Respect Network, he was executive director of two industry foundations, the Information Card Foundation and Open Identity Exchange and helped found XDI.org and Identity Commons. Based in Seattle, his undergraduate degree is from Harvard College. 

Matthew Thompson, Board President, Kantara Initiative Inc.
Thompson serves as non-executive board president of the nonprofit data-industry trade association, Kantara Initiative, an effort to foster trustworthy use of identity and personal data through innovation, standardization and good practice. He is SVP for civil identity for North America for Idemedia, the French provider of facial recognition, biometric and identity-card technologies and “augmented identity.” Earlier he directed identity services for Capital One, the U.S. bank and credit-card issuer. His MBA is from Harvard Business School. 

Richard Whitt, President, Glia Foundation; Fellow, Mozilla Foundation and Georgetown University Law Center
Whitt is an attorney and former longtime DC policy and strategy executive for Google Inc. who is now organizing support for the GLIA Foundation focused on building trustworthy and accountable web ecosystems. He is also an ITEGA advisor. Sicne leaving Google he has also served as a fellow in residence to the Mozilla Foundation and a policy advisor to Code for America. His degree is from the Georgetown University Law Center.

 

January 21, 2021 webinar

DISCUSSION LEADER 

Wally Snyder is founder and president of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Institute for Advertising Ethics (IAE) an education and public advocacy group. Snyder’s career has focused on advertising development, regulation and ethics. IAE’s nine principles covers privacy: “Advertisers should never compromise consumers’ personal privacy in marketing communications, and their choices as to whether to participate in providing their information should be transparent and easily made.”  Snyder served as a trial lawyer and as assistant director for advertising practices at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission before joining the American Advertising Federation (AAF) where he served as president and CEO, from 1992–2008. Snyder was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame® in 2009. He has worked with the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the University of Texas and the AAF. 

DISCUSSION PARTICIPANTS (alpha order):

Alan Butler is executive director and general counsel of the  Electronic Privacy Information Center.  EPIC is a nonprofit research center focused on emerging privacy and related human-rights issues. Butler has argued cases involving workplace and consumer privacy. He is chair fo the privacy and information protection committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice.  His is a graduate of UCLA School of Law.

Travis Clinger is a key leader in the ad-tech industry seeking to re-engineer a trustworthy system more aware of consumer privacy. He serves on boards of  IAB Tech Lab and the Advertising ID Consortium and is also SVP addressability & ecosystems at LiveRamp  He’s a graduate of Rollins College.  LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic solution to identity is integrating with The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0 solution.

Scott Cunningham is an independent consultant to the 90-member Local Media Consortium, and project lead on its NewsNext Program — a strategy for deepening the relationship among news organizations, their subscribers, advertisers, readers and viewers. His long history — from the student daily at the University of Wisconsin, on the editorial, advertising and technical roles at the top of the U.S. newspaper industry, at USAToday, MediaNews Group and elsewhere — includes founding the IAB Tech Lab.

Lisa Macpherson, has been an experienced media marketing and brand-transformation executive at Hallmark Cards, Fisher-Price and Timberland. She has turned to understanding and helping reshape the Internet technology ecosystem to better serve democracy and local journalism. She is a senior policy fellow at Public Knowledge, an NGO working at the intersection of copyright, telecommunications and internet law. She is an advanced leadership fellow at the Harvard JFK School and a former organizer for the Center for Humane Technology.

Jordan Mitchell, moved from an entrepreneurial career in advertising technology to pioneer efforts at a new approach for managing Internet user identity and data. He is now SVP, consumer privacy, identity and data at the  Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab.  For seven years he was VP product for advertising automation company Magnite Inc. (then known as The Rubicon Project).  He holds an account degree from Michigan State.

Mathieu Roche has worked in ad-tech for 15 years until co-founded London-based  ID5.io two years ago. As co-founding CEO, he wants to use linked IDs to help premium publishers and innovative ad-tech vendors with a better identity framework to enable them to compete against Google, Facebook and other closed systems.. Before staring ID5, Roche spent 11 years at European semantic profiling specialist Weborama. Earlier, for six years he did deal analysis for venture-capital firm Startup Avenue.  He serves on the board of IAB France. His MBA is from Georgia Tech.

Achim Schlosser is CTO and director European NetID Foundation an alliance of major German publishers broadcasters and ISPs that runs a federated single-sign on (SSO) service for users within the European Union in competition with U.S. platforms such as Google and Facebook.  Founders and participants include Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland , ProSiebenSat.1 and United Internetes and Deutsche Telekom among others. NetID reports 50 million unique users per month with 38 million active accounts. The login is available on over 65 websites. Schlosser is active in efforts by W3C members to develop privacy-supporting replacements for third-party cookies. Before NetID, Schlosser was a senior manager with KMPG Germany and held several technical roles at Cisco. He holds a computer-science masters, focused on data management and exploration, from RWTH Aachen University.

Arvid Tchivzhel is managing director, digital services for Mather Economics Inc., which provides data translation and analytics around audience, advertising, content and subscription conversion to the newspaper and other industries. He advises globally on digital transformation strategies and implementation. HE has worked with cable, hospitality, consumer services, nonprofits and “big box” retailers. A frequent industry-gathering speaker, he has degrees in economics and Spanish from Furman University. He has been an ITEGA task-group participant.

March 4, 2021webinar

DISCUSSION FACILITATOR 

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser is founding chair of the ITEGA Board of Directors and consultant. She has worked as an editor, publisher and leader in independent media for over two decades. She is chair of the Foundation for the Alliance for Community Media. From 2011-2018 she chaired the Media Alliance board, where her focus included incubating the member-donor model for independent nonprofit publications and web services. She helped found the Southern Center for Movement Journalism, extending a personal focus on newsroom diversity efforts.. She previously served on the board of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. She received a B.A. at Yale University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. She taught modern poetry, women’s studies and literary theory for six years at the University of Kentucky before leaving academia for media.

DISCUSSION STARTERS 

Bill Michels is general manager, product at The Trade Desk, one of the largest advertising-technology companies focused on connecting brands with publishers. His career earlier included stints at Yahoo! as search advertising and product manager, and earlier in various roles at location-data companies Foursquare and Factual Inc. In his career he has managed partnerships with Apple, Facebook, Uber, Twitter, Microsoft, Snap, Amazon, and LiveRamp. He holds a degree in geology from Colby College and an MBA from Columbia University.

Ben Moskowitz is founding director of the Digital Lab at Consumer Reports. The lab published reports for policymakers and manufacturers on topics ranging from CCPA compliance, to how consumers value privacy and security, to nationally representative public opinion research on platform responsibility. The lab is funded by grants from Craig Newmark Philanthropies,the Sloan Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Omidyar Network. Mowkowitz spent five years at browser maker Mozilla, where he was director of development strategy. At Mozilla, he lead teams on research, strategic development, software R&D, ecosystem building and fundraising.  Before Mozilla, he fostered development of next-generation networks at U.S. Ignite, a nonprofit spinoff from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation.. His degree is from the University of California, Berkeley in political science and rhetoric. 

James Vasile is a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a partner at Open Tech Strategics, a consultancy that helps launch, join, evaluate, or influence open-source software projects that seek transformative change. He is also director of New America’s Open Internet Tools Project. A recognized expert on free and open source software, he challenges the structural, security and privacy barriers that hinder free communication between people. He has also directed the FreedomBox Foundation, a project devoted to building small, low-cost computers that protect people’s privacy, security and anonymity while they use the Internet. He is a Senior Fellow at the Software Freedom Law Center. He holds a JD from Columbia Law School and a BA from Fordham College. 

Richard A. Lerner is CEO of Clickshare Service Corp. and principle architect of the User Data Exchange (UDEX.org) prototype developed for ITEGA task-group meetings. He is a computer scientist with over 20 years of experience in developing large, distributed, network applications. Since receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Lerner has lead the development of many large-scale applications, both for commercial application and for industrial and academic research. His technical expertise includes federated transaction systems, concurrent and distributed systems, internet applications and software engineering. He is based in Amherst, Mass. 

Bill Ostendorf is president and founder of Creative Circle Media Solutions, a web design, software and operations consultancy. He’s worked with 300 media companies on three contents, led redesigns of more than 650 publications and 300 websites. AT the start of his career he was an editor at The Providence Journal and worked at papers in Chicago, Idaho and Ohio. He served leadership positions with the Society for News Design and and the National Press Photographers Association. He has undergraduate and masters degrees from Northwestern Medill.

APPENDIX B

CONVENING QUESTIONS

The three webinars were framed by this assertion:

“Surveillance capitalism will destroy the free market and democratic values, starting with privacy and an independent press, without the adoption of user-centric digital identities that are governed in the public interest.”

The first webinar’s participants were asked to consider:

  • Who should create, control and benefit from people’s identity information?
  • How does the use of a person’s data shape or influence public discourse?
  • How has journalism been impacted by changes in digital identity technology and policy? How did we see this play out in 2020?
  • Does digital identity advance or degrade participatory democracy? What about anonymity? 
  • Does every community benefit from digital identity systems?
  • Does more data for identity purposes mean more bias or more equity? For example, how and when should biometrics be used for identity? Should their use be regulated? 
  • What are the implications for privacy and identity as new ways to sustain journalism emerge? 
  • How is it possible to give the public control over their private information, and still serve advertising that is relevant and effective?
  • What has this meant during the presidential election and public health emergency?
  • What was the role of large private platforms in the election of 2020? What should they do by 2024? 
  • What changes in the marketplace have influenced political campaigns and elections?

The second webinar’s participants considered:

  • What is the role of digital identity when it comes to advertising?
  • How have marketplace changes impacted this space? For example, how will changes to IDFA and the cookie-less future impact identity, privacy and digital advertising?
  • What is the state of privacy and data protection regulation law, federally and on a state level?
  • How might state and federal antitrust and privacy investigations impact advertising?
  • Can ad tech become a trusted ecosystem? If so, how?
  • What’s the relationship between online privacy and journalism?
  • Which news organizations have already embraced secure digital identity and privacy? What’s worked and what has not?
  • How might news organizations leverage marketplace and regulatory changes to become sustainable?

The third webinar, considering solutions, were posed questions such as:

  • What does it mean for a publisher to have a deeply engaged, trusted relationship with community members? How can publishers amplify new voices and new perspectives in communities?
  • What do publishers have to consider on the technical side to achieve community engagement and trust? What must they consider on the policy side? 
  • Is it possible to have personalized advertising and maintain user trust? 
  • What’s the role of digital identity in facilitating trusted relationships with communities?
  • Is a solution like The Trade Desk’s UID2.0 the answer? What are the next steps for UID2.0?
  • Should digital identity solutions be open and non-proprietary? What type of entities should make the rules for such systems?
  • What are consumers looking for from media outlets? What does trust mean to them? 

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