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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Europe's sweeping data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), went into effect last Friday, triggering a flurry of multi-billion dollar complaints, the shuttering of news websites overseas and a programmatic (automated) ad-buying market crash in Europe.

Why it matters: There hasn't been any indication that enforcement will be that stringent — regulators have indicated they'll be more lenient in the beginning than businesses realize — but ominous press coverage and the fear of heavy penalties has been enough to rattle industry.

The latest:

  • News outlets have gone dark in Europe: News publishers — many of which were linked to newspaper holding group Tronc, like The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times — shut down access to their websites from Europe on Friday. As of Monday, those sites were still reportedly blocked.
  • New paywalls are launching in Europe: The Washington Post, is reportedly adding an EU-specific paywall, that is ad and tracking-free, but is more expensive.
  • The tech giants are being slammed with complaints: Google and Facebook, the two biggest data-driven advertising companies globally, were hit with complaints filed by European privacy advocate Max Schrems just hours after GDPR went into effect. Potential penalties, Schrems argues, total up to € 7 billion.
  • Programmatic ad buying has plummeted: Since the early hours of May 25, ad exchanges have seen European ad demand volumes fall between 25 and 40% in some cases, sources tell Digiday. "Ad tech vendors scrambled to inform clients that they predict steep drops in demand coming through their platforms from Google."

The big picture: The panicked reaction to GDPR is significant because U.S.-based attempts to clean up the advertising industry have basically been ignored by marketers.

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had native advertising guidelines around deception since 2015, but a lack of enforcement around the rules has caused many publishers to ignore them.

Be smart: Expect enforcement in the U.S. to become a bigger priority now that there has been a full turnover of the five Commissioner positions at the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces consumer protection standards.

  • Two former FTC Commissioners told Axios in March that they expect data privacy and security to be their top consumer protection priority.

What's next? Digital advertising giants are already lobbying the next mega European law, a new ePrivacy Regulation that protects the confidentiality of electronic communications.

Go deeper

Food delivery "ghost kitchens" face major obstacles

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The growing popularity of food delivery has given rise to startups that open "ghost kitchens" — kitchens in warehouses or trailers that prepare food solely for delivery and have no option to dine in.

  • But they can come with a whole host of problems.

The big picture: The concept of "ghost kitchens" has been dubbed the next big thing in the future of services, with high profile backers like Uber founder Travis Kalanick. But these kitchens can be hard to run or unsafe.

3 hours ago - Health

Federal judge blocks Biden vaccine mandate for health workers

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally funded facilities nationwide.

The big picture: The order comes one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.

CNN suspends Chris Cuomo indefinitely

Chris Cuomo in 2019. Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for THR

CNN announced Tuesday evening that it has suspended anchor Chris Cuomo indefinitely following new revelations about his involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Driving the news: New documents released Monday showed that Cuomo used his contacts to garner information about the women accusing his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, of sexual harassment, as well as of emerging media coverage relating to the scandal.

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