Google to join IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework

But questions and concerns about Google's GDPR-compliance plans and guidance to publishers remain as the company prepares for a meeting with publishers on Thursday.

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Google Console Dials Controls8 Ss 1920 NpjbewGoogle will soon join the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework, the company confirmed Tuesday — just three days before the May 25 deadline for enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The news was first reported by AdExchanger.

The framework is designed in part to allow advertisers and publishers to share consent across the ad tech ecosystem. Consent from users to have their data collected and used for marketing purposes is required under GDPR, a sweeping set of new data privacy rules that govern the handling of EU members’ data no matter where it occurs. Companies found in breach of GDPR can be assessed fees up to €20 million, or 4 percent of their annual revenue, whichever is higher.

“We absolutely want to be a part of the IAB framework. We plan to register,” Scott Spencer, Google’s director of product management, told AdExchanger.

What’s the holdup this close to the deadline? Google is waiting for IAB Europe to respond to technical recommendations and is still in the process of reviewing the framework’s policies. The IAB only revealed its framework for public comment in March.

Advertisers and publishers are waiting for Google to embrace the platform and propel wider adoption. The delay provides yet another source of frustration for publishers who aren’t happy with the way Google is handling its responsibilities under GDPR.

Google announced this spring that it would consider publishers using its ad serving platform, DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), as “co-controllers” that must collect consent on its behalf. Publisher groups representing some 4,000 publishers pushed back in a joint letter (PDF) saying that Google is essentially muscling in to control data from their site visitors without gaining comprehensive consents and entangling them in that liability.

And there are still questions about how Google would use the framework for consent; it announced earlier this month that it will use its monetization tool Funding Choices as a consent management platform.

Funding Choices was conceived as an anti-ad-blocking tool that publishers can use to recapture revenue. Google added the ability for publishers to create and display a GDPR compliance message, which includes a list of ad tech providers and asks visitors to consent to the use of cookies from those providers. A plan to limit the total number of providers to 12 has also raised the ire of publishers.

Google to meet with publishers this week

Google will meet with publishers on Thursday to address their concerns. Senior leadership from the product, engineering, legal and sales departments will be present; the company expects most of the publishers it invited to attend.

“The GDPR is a big change for everyone,” a Google spokesperson told me on Wednesday. “Over the last year, we’ve engaged with over 10,000 of our publishers, advertisers and agencies across nearly 60 countries through events, workshops and conversations around the changes we’re making to be compliant with the GDPR. We will continue to open our doors to our publisher partners to engage in these discussions on GDPR compliance.”

But Jason Kint, chief executive officer of Digital Content Next, a New York City-based trade association of about 70 premium publishers in the US and Europe, told me via Twitter that Google had invited his organization and some other organizations “who all declined until they answer our questions. I hear they’re now trying to direct and open it up to publishers. Good luck!”

Kint told MarTech Today in March that the IAB Europe’s consent plan was a “non-starter.” Johnny Ryan of Pagefair said it “violates GDPR.”

Questions about GDPR? Download our free guide, The General Data Protection Regulation: GDPR — A Guide for Marketers.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Robin Kurzer
Robin Kurzer started her career as a daily newspaper reporter in Milford, Connecticut. She then made her mark on the advertising and marketing world in Chicago at agencies such as Tribal DDB and Razorfish, creating award-winning work for many major brands. For the past seven years, she’s worked as a freelance writer and communications professional across a variety of business sectors.

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