Advertisers that use real-time bidding in the UK will soon have clear guidance, especially around the use of data, after the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a six-point action plan in response to an official probe by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO, the UK’s data watchdog, had issued a scathing report in June last year in which it warned of widespread misuse of people’s data and accused the adtech industry of appearing “immature” in its understanding of data protection laws.

It gave those companies involved in real-time bidding six months to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and said that it would work constructively with the industry in the meantime.

IAB UK has now responded, committing its members to a series of actions on six key issues raised in the ICO report. These include:

  • Developing good practice guidance covering data security, minimisation and retention, while working with IAB Europe to explore how the requirements in the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) policies could be enhanced.
  • Undertaking a range of actions on special category data, including education for the industry on special category data restrictions and requirements (developed with other relevant trade bodies, particularly on the buy-side) as well as working to identify potential controls to minimise risks arising from the content of referred URLs in bid requests.
  • Educating IAB members on the consent requirements of UK e-privacy regulations, with reference to the ICO’s current cookie guidance, and promoting the use of the TCF for obtaining user consent in a way that is compliant with the GDPR.
  • Educating IAB members on Legitimate Interests Assessment requirements and working with IAB Europe to develop resources to support companies to meet these requirements in practice.
  • Educating IAB members on Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) requirements and encourage them to review their processing operations considering the ICO’s existing guidance. It will also identify whether additional guidance is needed for the industry and work with relevant trade bodies as they develop their own DPIA approaches and guidance.
  • Engaging with IAB Europe about potential changes to TCF policies regarding consent management provider user interfaces to improve transparency and fairness of information provided to consumers.

Commenting on the action plan, Christie Dennehy-Neil, IAB UK’s head of policy and regulatory affairs, said: “It’s now critical that we work together with our members to implement change. This needs everyone – advertisers, intermediaries and media owners – to work with us, and to be willing to take action and invest in making changes where necessary.”

And speaking on behalf of the ICO, Simon McDougall, its executive director for technology and innovation, added: “We’re very pleased with the engagement we’ve had so far and, while we still have a long way to go, we’re optimistic that an industry-led solution is possible.”

Sourced from IAB; additional content by WARC staff