World Association of News Publishers

Data Privacy: An issue for our time

Data Privacy: An issue for our time


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News publishers taking ownership of diligent data privacy policies and practices is the focus of this new WAN-IFRA report. Researched and reported in cooperation with TRUSTe, the leading global data privacy management company, the report presents best-practice recommendations from data privacy experts and publishers around the world, results of consumer and publisher surveys, and recent trends and regulations around the topic.


  • Today, data privacy protection must be a top-of-the-mind issue for news publishers, to keep their crucial competitive advantage intact. Their longstanding customers demand it. Their potential new users, many of them Millennials, demand it. Emerging regulations demand it.
  • Consumers’ attitudes toward data privacy clearly show that trust only comes from transparency in how news publishers handle their data and information. Recent landmark regulatory cases show the consequences of poor data privacy practices.
  • The understanding and current approaches to data privacy among publishers paint a picture of an industry that is still fairly undecided on how to handle this relatively new issue.
  • The guiding principles and “musts” for implementing sound data privacy programmes are described. The report includes interviews with managers at three “golden benchmark” news media companies that have made data privacy a top priority.


Cecilia Campbell is Executive Programmes Editor & Communicator for WAN-IFRA. She has been part of the core team for the WAN-IFRA executive programmes on digital revenues and mobile platforms (now eRev) since their launch in 2006.

Kris Vann, J.D., is Senior Product Marketing Manager for TRUSTe, the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company.

Other takeaways

In the digital world, publishers have more information about their customers than ever before, information they can monetise in various ways. Consumers, in turn, are becoming more aware of the data they share about themselves.

Add to that the fact that privacy legislators constantly look at needs for further regulation and you’ve got a situation where it’s key for publishers to take ownership of their data protection and communication around privacy.

That is why WAN-IFRA commissioned this report, to help publishers weather this “perfect storm” around data privacy. Here are a few takeaways:

  • A recent survey shows that 90 percent of consumers in the USA and U.K. avoid companies that they don’t believe protect their data privacy.
  • “We’re asking more of our customers in terms of data,” says Sue Gaudi, Chief Privacy Officer at The Globe and Mail in Canada. “And when you do that, especially in a very competitive market like ours, and when, as for The Globe, one of your top brand values is trust and integrity, you have to really walk the talk. It’s all sort of a perfect storm of reasons to focus on how you collect, use and safeguard your data – not just to fulfil legal requirements but also to make the process very transparent to your users.”
  • Publishers who allow ads to be served from anywhere other than their own ad servers – the vast majority, that is – need to get their house in order to protect and leverage user data. Work with trusted partners, set clear rules on what is permissible, and be creative about how you monetise your own first-party data.
  • Essentials of a good privacy programme:
  1. Be clear and transparent with users.
  2. Keep track of your processes.
  3. Keep track of third parties.
  • Essentials of internal organisation:
  1. Appoint a data privacy lead.
  2. Appoint data protection champions across the organisation.
  3. Establish privacy awareness among all staff.

 The report is supported by our technology partner, Centro,which develops digital advertising and media management software to help advertisers streamline and scale digital campaigns.


SFN Report
Cecilia Campbell, Kris Vann
Cooperating Institutes:


Anton Jolkovski's picture

Anton Jolkovski


2015-05-29 10:35

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