Privacy Groups Urged to Nix AppNexus

WASHINGTON — Privacy advocates were making noise last week about opposing AT&T’s purchase of AppNexus, which runs a global digital ad marketplace.

That is according to an email from a group that suggested it was another Big Data grab. Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, confirmed he was urging similar groups to join it in opposing the combo.

Chester has been a longtime proponent of greater government regulation of online data collection and monetization.

“They want to use Warner Media content as digital ‘bait’ so they can use personal data to track consumers everywhere,” he told Multichannel News. “The AppNexus acquisition will further threaten the privacy of Americans and allow AT&T to take unfair advantage of its monopolistic control of its broadband network and even force its competitors to turn over data that belongs to consumers.”

AT&T has said that the purchase is meant to “accelerate the growth of its advertising platform and strengthen its leadership in advanced TV advertising.” But it is also clearly looking to leverage its new Turner assets online, signaling as much in saying that it is looking to integrate data with its “premium video content.”

AT&T is hoping the deal can close by the end of September; Chester is hoping — and working — for a quite different outcome.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.