>> MIKE: We’ve seen a change in people’s awareness of
how their data is used—and their expectations.
And that’s actually really a good thing.
You know, an interesting data point around this is searches for “online privacy”
have grown globally more than 50 percent year-over-year.
>> NEHA: In this episode of The Update, I talk with Mike Schulman,
the head of Ads Privacy and Safety,
about how Google is working to improve user privacy
while preserving the ad-supported internet.
Mike, can you tell us more about your role leading Ads Privacy and Safety at Google?
My team is really focused on ensuring digital advertising is safe and
effective so that it works for users, publishers and advertisers,
and can continue to support the open internet.
How has the ads team responded to the increased focus on and
concerns for privacy?
Privacy isn’t a new priority for Google.
It’s been a long-time focus and
we’ve introduced a number of tools over the years
like, ad settings and activity controls.
We never sell your information to anyone and
we don’t use your emails, documents or sensitive information
like race, religion or sexual orientation for advertising purposes.
Users really do prefer personalized ads,
but only if those ads protect their privacy and
offer transparency and control.
So we’ve taken steps to increase transparency into
how digital advertising works,
offer users additional controls and really ensure that
people’s choices about their use of data
are respected and not worked around or ignored.
Can you tell me a bit more about
transparency and control—the two of them seem to be linked.
We consistently hear that users really prefer ads that are relevant to them,
versus the ads that kind of feel like they’re appearing at random.
But concerns really arise when people have experiences
with ads that they can’t understand.
Like when it’s not clear what information about them is being used
or what companies are involved.
So that’s why we offer tools like Why this Ad,
where from an icon in the ad itself,
users can get more information on why they’re seeing the ad
or even choose to stop seeing that ad altogether.
In this area, we’ll be making improvements to this experience
including providing more information to the users about the ad,
like the verified name of the advertiser.
Mike, you mentioned something important about protecting
people’s privacy and ensuring that their preferences aren’t worked around.
What are some of the things that users need protection from?
Some companies involved in digital advertising use opaque techniques
to gather data about individual users or track them covertly.
Fingerprinting, which involves collecting very specific information
about someone’s browser or their device to