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.
Announcing the updates to the TCF, 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 says it 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.”
The TCF Steering Group (SG) was tasked with drafting the new Policy documents and engaging with the IAB Tech Lab, which managed the technical specifications. With participation from 10 National IABs and 55 organisations, and EU-level associations, publishers, media owners, technology providers, and media agencies, the SG enabled an inclusive, fair and consensus-based participation of stakeholders to deliver the vision.
On the update, TCF SG member, Alice Lincoln, Senior Vice President of Data Policy & Governance, MediaMath said: “MediaMath’s participation in developing the TCF v2 is a cornerstone of our mission to drive the industry toward greater accountability. The data subject rights to transparency and control prescribed by GDPR present an important opportunity to make overdue improvements to the digital media supply chain. Version 2 of the TCF will better surface how we connect people to the brands and content they value and give consumers and publishers alike greater control over who they trust to handle their data and for what purposes.”
Under TCF 2.0, says IAB Europe, not only can consumers grant or withhold consent but they can also exercise their ‘right to object’ to data being processed. Consumers also gain more control over whether and how vendors may use certain features of data processing (for example, the use of precise geolocation).
Tamara Daltroff, Director General of The European Association of Communication Agencies (EACA), said: “EACA is excited about the launch of TCF 2.0. We are confident that the changes will increase the transparency and choice provided to users who want to continue benefiting from content and services that they would otherwise have to pay for. For agencies, industry standards are a vital instrument to ensure consistent implementation, oversight and application of policies and technical specifications across borders. The TCF is an essential tool for them to ensure compliance with the GDPR and ePrivacy Directive.”
Publishers employing TCF 2.0 gain greater control and flexibility with respect to how they integrate and collaborate with their technology partners. New publisher functionality allows them to restrict the purposes for which personal data is processed by vendors on a publisher’s website on a per-vendor basis.
Commenting on how the engagement of publishers has driven the creation and purpose of TCF 2.0, Angela Mills Wade, Executive Director, European Publishers Council (EPC) said: “The EPC and Publishing members of the TCF Steering Group were able to provide valuable feedback on how the framework could be improved and better serve the community. Under TCF 2.0, publishers can provide more transparency to their users with the introduction of clearer and more detailed purposes and standardised flexibility in how these purposes are described to their users. This enables publisher confidence in delivering more choice, transparency, and control to their readers.”
Commenting on these changes, Kate Teh, Group Legal Director, The Telegraph Graph said: “Publishers are at the vanguard for securing user consent for the processing of their data. Whilst informed consent is the default for data which enables better targeted advertising, publishers also need to notify users when cookies and other technologies are used to administer their sites, for example analytics or ecommerce functionality. These use cases are considered a legitimate interest so it was important that the updated TCF incorporated this option for publishers. In doing so, we can deliver a transparent and consistent experience to consumers, with one platform managing the notification and consent process, ensuring consent signals are adhered to throughout the value chain.”
As businesses adopt the new updates, the TCF 2.0 will operate in market alongside TCF 1.1 through to the close of Q1 2020. This will provide publisher websites and Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) with an appropriate timeframe in which to adopt TCF 2.0. It also provides the vendors they work with sufficient time to develop and implement the code needed to adhere to the protocol of TCF 2.0, says IAB Europe.