IAB updated Transparency & Consent Framework

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IAB Europe, the European-level industry association for the digital marketing and advertising ecosystem, in partnership with IAB Tech Lab, has announced the launch of the second iteration of the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF).

The TCF is an industry tool that supports companies within the digital advertising ecosystem as they manage their compliance obligations under the GDPR and ePrivacy Directive. This follows a 12-month review period which has included market feedback from all sectors of the digital advertising industry, notably publishers, and nine meetings with Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) throughout Europe.

Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe said “The original TCF was launched to help a complex industry value chain manage their obligations under new regulations, notably the GDPR. With the number of constituents involved and disparate regulatory interpretations across multiple jurisdictions, it was essential that the evolution of the framework was handled sensitively, with the final specifications able to be adopted in a manner consistent with differing business models in a wide range of operational markets”. She continued “Whilst the TCF will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our dynamic industry, I am confident this update addresses all the feedback we have received from many DPAs throughout Europe, as well as the needs of each part of the digital advertising value chain.”

The TCF is comprised of technical specifications and policy documents enabling companies that participate in the delivery of digital advertising and personalised content to work under an appropriate legal basis for processing personal data in each market where they operate. It is a framework for publishers, technology vendors, agencies and advertisers to clearly and consistently communicate with end users about how their data is being used, while also providing an opportunity for users to object.

There are 28 markets within the European Union, with each possessing a DPA that interprets the rules regarding GDPR compliance in different ways. Equally, the commercial requirements of each part of the value chain, from publisher through to advertiser, are different and may have conflicting goals. As a result, it is important that the TCF is flexible in its approach, so it can accommodate these different constituents’ business needs and regional interpretations of the GDPR and ePrivacy regulations.

In the UK, it is well known that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has taken a specific view, as detailed in the publication of its ‘Adtech Update Report’ in June. IAB Europe has continued its close-working relationship with the ICO and is confident this update to the TCF will allow companies to adopt a GDPR-compliant approach to RTB within the UK.

TCF 2.0 continues to support the overall drive of the TCF to increase consumer transparency and choice, management by digital properties of consent and compliance, and industry collaboration that centres on standardisation.

“The TCF is the only privacy compliance solution that was built by the industry for the industry – and for everyone who benefits from digital media and services,” stated Dennis Buchheim, EVP & General Manager, IAB Tech Lab, whose members develop the technical specifications for the framework. He continued “The consumer is the principal focus of the TCF and the vision for version 2.0 was to provide clear explanations and choices to consumers regarding how their data may be used if consent is given, while providing greater control to publishers over how consent and other guidance is followed by their technology partners”.


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