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The Update: Preserving Ad Privacy

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>> MIKE: We’ve seen a change in people’s awareness of

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how their data is used—and their expectations.

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And that’s actually really a good thing.

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You know, an interesting data point around this is searches for “online privacy”

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have grown globally more than 50 percent year-over-year.

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>> NEHA: In this episode of The Update, I talk with Mike Schulman,

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the head of Ads Privacy and Safety,

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about how Google is working to improve user privacy

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while preserving the ad-supported internet.

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Mike, can you tell us more about your role leading Ads Privacy and Safety at Google?

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My team is really focused on ensuring digital advertising is safe and

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effective so that it works for users, publishers and advertisers,

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and can continue to support the open internet.

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How has the ads team responded to the increased focus on and

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concerns for privacy?

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Privacy isn’t a new priority for Google.

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It’s been a long-time focus and

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we’ve introduced a number of tools over the years

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like, ad settings and activity controls.

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We never sell your information to anyone and

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we don’t use your emails, documents or sensitive information

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like race, religion or sexual orientation for advertising purposes.

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Users really do prefer personalized ads,

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but only if those ads protect their privacy and

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offer transparency and control.

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So we’ve taken steps to increase transparency into

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how digital advertising works,

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offer users additional controls and really ensure that

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people’s choices about their use of data

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are respected and not worked around or ignored.

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Can you tell me a bit more about

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transparency and control—the two of them seem to be linked.

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We consistently hear that users really prefer ads that are relevant to them,

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versus the ads that kind of feel like they’re appearing at random.

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But concerns really arise when people have experiences

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with ads that they can’t understand.

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Like when it’s not clear what information about them is being used

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or what companies are involved.

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So that’s why we offer tools like Why this Ad,

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where from an icon in the ad itself,

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users can get more information on why they’re seeing the ad

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or even choose to stop seeing that ad altogether.

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In this area, we’ll be making improvements to this experience

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including providing more information to the users about the ad,

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like the verified name of the advertiser.

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Mike, you mentioned something important about protecting

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people’s privacy and ensuring that their preferences aren’t worked around.

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What are some of the things that users need protection from?

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Some companies involved in digital advertising use opaque techniques

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to gather data about individual users or track them covertly.

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Fingerprinting, which involves collecting very specific information

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about someone’s browser or their device to