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Frustration, hope and confusion as industry finds TCF answers

So the roller coaster ride of the future of online advertising in Europe has changed again.

The Belgian Data Protection Authority told IAB Europe earlier this month that it would move forward with plans to run the trade body’s attempt to maintain third-party addressability on the open web, also known as the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) .

It’s safe to say that this caught the industry off guard. And for good reason. Regulators representing other peers across the EU are not meant to be active. It has not been active on all things TCF since February, when it found the framework in its current form illegal and subsequently fined its architect, IAB Europe. In other words, the regulator is dormant. IAB Europe thinks it may stay that way until its allure plays out. This may be a little optimistic. The appeal won’t be decided until next year at the earliest – something that became clear last month when the Court of Appeal deferred specific issues in the case to the Union High Court. Clearly, regulators do not want to wait that long to address the future of TCF. Not when not needed. Belgian law provides that an order can be executed immediately regardless of appeal. So when it comes to regulators putting TCF back in the spotlight, it’s always a question of sooner or later. This could lead to enforcement moving forward, although the regulator has not said. Everything else remains to be explained. Andrew Frank, an analyst at Gartner, said: “The hope that some kind of negotiated solution can be reached here may underestimate the depth of this fundamental right that extends all the way down to the philosophical level.” “This particular The outbreak shows that there is a deeper rift between people that has not really been resolved, those who believe there can be robust systems in place to protect people and support the advertising business, and those who believe there is no compromise here because addressable advertising Fundamentally violates the privacy principles the GDPR is designed to protect.” What happens next could have major implications for the future of online targeted advertising. The Belgian data privacy watchdog, which represents all of its European Union counterparts, is still likely to finish what it started in February: stifling the use of the TCF guardrails the industry has put in place to help track people legally. General Data Protection Regulation. Admittedly, there is still a lot to do between now and then. Namely, regulators must appeal to see if TCF can be saved from itself. However, it couldn’t do that until it looked at the action plan of framework architects IAB Europe. Even then, if the decision is not what it wanted, there is a good chance the trade body will appeal the decision. In short, the future of TCF is far from clear. Frustratingly, it could have been worse. At least regulators and IAB Europe are talking. This must provide some respite for the future of TCF to be settled amicably. “The regulator has indicated that it intends to review and review the action plan to validate it, but it has not indicated how long this will take,” said Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe. “The good thing for us, and maybe even the market, is that we will have the possibility to have some sort of working-level dialogue with the authorities that we have never had. We have gotten lost in this logic of litigation, since we filed They have not provided any contact details since the action plan. This update arguably breaks the deadlock in that regard.” Even so, Feehan and her team still face considerable challenges in pushing TCF to meet regulatory requirements. Big pressure: TCF offers broader compliance capabilities, including ensuring GDPR compliance for all wholesale TCF suppliers. It is also a trivial matter to develop a finer-grained and more concise definition of the purpose of data processing. Oh, and don’t forget that regulators are also seeking to limit the legitimate interest legal basis for using TCF. Needless to say, a lot. Still, the industry remains hopeful. “It is encouraging that the IAB is also working with the [Belgian data regulator],” said Russ Howe, Ketch’s VP of Data Control in EMEA. “Privacy requires programmatic standards to protect people’s data dignity, giving them transparency and control over their data, while enabling businesses to grow with data and participate in a data-driven economy.” Two steps forward, two steps back . So far this year, regulators and the advertising industry have been performing a strange dance for Europe’s widely tracked future. After all the back and forth, things are actually back where they started: Regulators are moving forward with their plans to enforce rules against the ad industry’s attempts to maintain third-party addressability on the open web. “This is not necessarily news, as the IAB is trying to find an angle to shape the discourse around the near-constant attention it is getting in Europe; it is clear that the various European regulatory and legislative bodies can smell the blood in the water, And IAB is their primary target,” said Cory Munchbach, president and chief operating officer of customer data platform BlueConic. “Anything the IAB can do to try and create a counter-narrative that they would do — and it looks like this press release (and several others over the past few months) fit the same pattern.”



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