Earlier this week, we broke the news of GroupM requiring publishers to sign a “Data Protection Addendum” in advance of the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation in May.

Why this matters is more interesting. GroupM is scrambling to make sure it won’t take on significant liability. (The GDPR calls for fines of up to 4 percent of a company’s global revenue.) What it’s doing is using its leverage as the biggest ad buyer to play a game of pass the liability. The demand is simple: You take all the liability, or you get cut off our media plans. From GroupM’s standpoint, it’s simply ensuring a compliant supply chain. In its view, it’s a leader, much as it was in pushing onerous viewability standards on publishers. Those in the front take all the arrows.

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