The House of Data Imperiali bulletins are extracts from the articles of the Legal Information Service (SIG) edited by Mr. Rosario Imperiali d’Afflitto.

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Advertiser privacy roles

In the context of the implementation of advertising campaigns, in reference to the topic of the identification of subjective privacy roles, we’ll discuss the specific role assumed by the advertiser. The latter, hired by the client, implements the campaign using personal data in his exclusive possession.

In the previous bulletin of November 18, we discussed about lead generation, while in the one of May 6, 2021, it was pointed out that, based on the thesis of the “controllership of the data”, it is possible to conclude that an advertiser who uses his own personal data for the commercial purposes of third-party products or services can assume the role of autonomous data controller.  This thesis, however, presupposes that the client who commissions the campaign does not interfere in any way on the modalities of management of the same. Consequently, the analysis of the factual circumstances might lead to different conclusions that we will examine in this round.



Figure – Elements identifying the controllership of data processing.



On the basis of the aforementioned legal reconstruction, it appears that advertising campaigns based on the use of personal data of potential customers that are exclusively available to third parties raise questions and concerns regarding the verification of the legitimacy of the use of data for the entire flow of the chain.

Dropping legal conclusions on market practices, the following observations seem inevitable:

  • the flow of data for marketing purposes consisting of

– a list editor who collects data and consents, 

– a list broker who acquires them in order to give them in turn to

– a final customer for the realization of a campaign

presents criticalities that are difficult to resolve, except in the case where the two assignees of the chain are already known to the list editor from the time of the primary collection, so that they can be mentioned by name and obtain from the data subject a specific consent for each step

  • the distinction between list editor/list broker may be intended to contract significantly due to the need to conceive business models based on a single data transfer
  • the possibility of disposing of significant amounts of personal data could require the use of a multiplicity of sources, increasing the role of mere intermediaries who, acting on behalf of the client, interact between the client of the campaign and the various data sources
  • it is presumable that we will see the consolidation of loyal relationships, for the supply of ad hoc data for specific marketing campaigns.