New Publishing Tech
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Q&A: Re-imagining privacy and consent with BEACON and Crownpeak

With Europe’s GDPR already in place and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) going into effect January 1, 2020, privacy and consent are very much center stage for many publishers. WNIP caught up with Crownpeak and BEACON who have jointly created the “Trust and Consent Framework”, a new data privacy compliance solution that aims to set a new global standard for end-user legal agreements (EULA’s).

Can you give us some background about your partnership?

Joe Toscano, Founder and CVO of BEACON: “The ‘Trust and Consent Framework’ has been developed by The Better Ethics and Consumer Outcomes Network (BEACON) in partnership with Crownpeak, a global leader in privacy and digital governance management.

“Together, we have built a design-driven compliance solution for enterprise companies to ensure both brand integrity and consumer accessibility by redefining the way consumers experience end-user legal agreements (EULAs), including both Privacy Policies and Terms of Service Agreements (ToS).”

Darren Guarnaccia, Chief Product Officer, Crownpeak: “Our framework offers companies the opportunity to be a leader in this space, as early adopters of this new approach to aggregating consumer consent preferences. We went a step further, helping consumers gain informed consent and giving them a voice, to understand what information is being collected on them and for what purpose.”

What business problem is your company addressing?

Darren: “With Europe’s GDPR already in place and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) going into effect January 1, 2020, businesses and advertisers are currently scrambling to comply with changes meant to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection. Similar to GDPR, CCPA grants consumers the right to know what information companies have on them, the right to have that information deleted and the right to opt out of the sale of that information. Given big tech companies like Facebook, Apple, Netflix, and Google are all headquartered in California, the rest of the country is watching and waiting to see how this will be rolled out, and for similar legislation to come to their state.

“The impact of these new global regulations has created a situation where companies must engage with their consumers and ensure they not only agree to share their personal data but are informed enough to reasonably give consent, in order to be legally compliant. Too often though, companies respond to this requirement with dense, intimidating legal texts that most consumers can’t understand. The typical approach to privacy has created a negative customer experience, is a missed opportunity to gain willing participation to a company’s customer programs.”

Joe: “In today’s market, we’ve seen not only a sharp increase in data privacy laws like these, but also a sharp decrease in consumer trust; trust has become a conviction-based motivator.

“We see this system as an incredible opportunity to rethink the way consumers engage with legal agreements across the internet, to encourage trust between the user and the organisation. We believe the work we’ve produced with Crownpeak has the opportunity to become a new industry standard, globally, as we’re bringing a design element to the world of legalese and compliance.”

What is your core product addressing this problem?

Darren: “Companies are generally unaware of how to handle CCPA compliance, looking to outsource this to companies like us. 

“Our partnership with BEACON will extend and improve the external-facing consumer experience of consent-giving within Crownpeak’s Digital Experience Management (DXM) and Universal Consent Platforms. Joe and his team have built an elegant solution that marries customer experience with privacy and consumer trust, and we’re excited to partner with them to bring the framework to market.”

Joe: “There is no guidance offered or prescriptive legislation on what data privacy compliance should look like, just that it needs to be done. There are many large companies that lack the resources to do this work internally, both because of a literal lack of resources and because of a lack of financial incentive to support those resources even if they are there. This often means consent forms are developed to meet the basic regulatory requirements, and user-friendly experience is lacking. It’s lawyers writing ToS agreements for other lawyers, meaning the agreement is designed to protect the company, not gain informed consent. Ultimately, the consumer experience is not prioritized.

“We’re offering a white label solution that can be implemented natively into a brand’s customer experience. We’re leveraging this opportunity with GDPR and CCPA to start the conversation on what the future of compliance looks like.

“By being open and transparent with their users, companies establish trust. This drives value to those companies by increasing the value of their consumers.”

Can you give some examples of publishers successfully using your solution?

Darren: “We’re in discussions with several enterprise companies who are eager to learn more about how to implement our framework to operationalize compliance in the right way — through consent and trust, with the consumer at the forefront. With the framework now available in the market,  we fully expect these conversations to continue and advance. Stay tuned for customer implementation examples…”


Darren: “The pricing is linked to our Universal Consent Platform (UCP). It fluctuates as it’s based on traffic numbers – how many customers you’re servicing, how many people are engaging with you – and which market you’re in. The Crownpeak DMX platform was built to adapt to individual markets – UCP plugs right into that or can be used as a standalone, consent as a service platform. Those interested in getting a demo and quote can send in a request here:”

What are other people doing in the space and why?

Darren: “Things changed in the last year, when Apple started messaging trust and security into everything they do. They raised the bar for the entire industry, and it’s now a part of their marketing.

“Brands across the board are fixated on gaining consent for compliance purposes. They consider it a legal requirement – and that’s exactly how it appears to the consumer. While most brands are aware of the resulting user frustration, they are not looking beyond the legalities. Checkbox consent forms – designed by lawyers to protect the company, not consumers – proliferate across the industry.”

Joe: “Everyone’s talking about the issue of consent, and how to scale informed consent, but no one is addressing that compliance must also be consumer-friendly.

“We believe trust is a value – the sum of transparency, consistent value delivery, and a willingness to own the consequences of your actions. Ticking boxes just doesn’t cut it anymore. There is zero transparency when it’s buried in legalese, offering no actions consumers can take to follow up. Where is the value behind it? We are redesigning this so trust is built into the system.”

How do you view the future?

Joe: “BEACON will work with Crownpeak to extend its business practices horizontally, into ToS and all other forms of EULAs. We will also become Crownpeak’s premier partner for production efforts on this initiative, which make custom systems for companies that go beyond check-box compliance and redefine the global standard for consent-giving best practices.”

Darren: “It’s our goal to spark a larger conversation within the industry about what is broken within the current consent-giving system, while also providing a platform to improve it. We aim to work with the industry to improve steps forward for companies and consumers; to create great customer experiences and build trust.”

Anything else we should know about?

Joe: “We see this very much as the starting point in a major industry switch. Just as companies had to respond to concerns about animal cruelty or single-use plastics, we believe data and privacy rights will be the next big paradigm. We are just at the beginning. Early adoption is a competitive advantage, as this new normal takes hold where consumers value their data privacy. There will be brands that lead and brands that watch from the sidelines – we want to work with those brands that understand the value and want to lead the market.”

Thank you.