Vodafone’s TrustPid: Not a cookie, but a potential alternative?

The challenges news publishers’ face monetising their content may be supported by TrustPid, a solution that could help by-pass Big Tech platforms.

Vodafone’s TrustPid provides a persistent user-identifier to the Ad Tech ecosystem based on the subscriber’s phone number. The technology is currently in a trial phase in Germany, conducted with Deutsche Telekom and Creating an ISP-level tracker has been on the cards for some time (see AT&T’s purchase of AppNexus / Verizon’s $9 billion investment into Ad Tech systems).  

TrustPid is designed to be impossible to bypass by changing web-browser settings or by blocking cookies.  It could therefore offer publishers an opportunity. There are, however, persisting problems with any ISP solution, crucially that Google and Apple are proposing IP cloaking through a VPN.

Google’s Gnatcatcher or Apple’s Private Relay would then break the technology. This is clarified when TrustPid’s Privacy Notice information is considered carefully.  

On this matter, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom lodged a complaint to the EU against Apple about Private Relay (Apple’s version of Google’s Gnatcatcher) with the European Commission. MOW has also raised Gnatcatcher. The Commission is, in turn, known to be investigating TrustPid, presumably following responses from Apple, Google and others.

Our Movement is keen to embrace all innovative solutions that benefit publishers and prevent the browser owners becoming gateway controllers to a web of walled gardens.