Pellegrino on trust, risk, leaks and change

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 26 July 2018
Jason Pellegrino

This is from the July issue of AdNews Magazine from our data and GDPR investigation. Subscribe to the magazine here to read it first  - and to support AdNews and independent journalism.

From online search to its maps, Google is famed for its extensive access to data, but outgoing Google MD Australia and New Zealand Jason Pellegrino said it doesn’t take this responsibility lightly.

Pellegrino acknowledged that some user data had been used "bluntly" in the past, compared to the more nuanced–controlled and privacy–compliant environment now.

“The moment there is any feeling that that data is at risk, that we are not allowing users to understand on a transparent basis what information they share with us, that we don’t allow them to have control over what information they share with us — transparency control — or we are using that in inappropriate ways that might result in that data leaking, very very quickly we realise that our business is absolutely at risk,” Pellegrino said.

“Our business is based on trust. We don’t lock anyone into contracts. We don’t require long–term commitments. And so, when you are operating in that model, you are clearly focused and building a business on the trust of your users.”

GDPR reflects society’s increased desire to understand the use of data, the collection of data and the privacy of that data, according to Pellegrino.

“Effectively, we’re seeing this globally in terms of a rise, it’s just that GDPR is the first region–wide policy that’s being applied,” he said.

“The fact that this regulation just sits in Europe means that effectively it will apply globally to an extent. And so, in Australia, marketers and the partners they work with have to apply it.”

It is incumbent upon the industry, Pellegrino said, to deeply understand the certification of the partners that they plug into.

“It’s going to require more onus on us to absolutely certify the partners that we have because we need to not only make sure that the bucket is not leaking on our platforms, but it can’t be leaky on the platforms that integrate with ours,” he said.

Pellegrino said media agencies have also been very progressive and on the front foot in terms of understanding what’s required post GDPR, how they need to change, and how their relationships and engagement with partners needs to change.

“It’s going to change some services and approaches that have been used in the past because GDPR reflects a shift in the regulation that’s actually mirroring what consumers are wanting,” he believes.

“When laws came into Australia to mandate cyclists wearing helmets. Guess what? Everyone had to wear helmets, but that’s just reflective of society’s expectations of the risk/reward trade–off and what’s appropriate. Things change.

“I’ve been very, very impressed with the media agencies in Australia stepping in and understanding this. Everyone is tremendously busy and it has been a long process — two–plus years in working on this and developing this — but everyone understands its importance.”

This article is part of a wider feature looking at the role of GDPR and data privacy and its impact on the media, advertising and marketing landscape. See below for more:

Why GDPR matters

GDPR's impact on ad tech

DMP is no magic bullet, but marketers must get a grip on data

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