Transparency & Consent Framework – Keeping the ball rolling

In this Friday’s weekly webinar on IAB Europe’s GDPR Transparency & Consent Framework, we will be discussing the feedback we have received to date from publishers in the public consultation we launched on 8 March. Since the law and the technology to which it applies are complex, some confusion has arisen in relation to what the Framework actually does (and does not do). The webinar should be a good opportunity to respond to what publishers have already told us, and give you the opportunity to ask any other questions you may have “live”.

Here are some examples of the feedback so far:

1.Publishers would like more control over which third parties receive and are able to process the data, including personal data, of their audiences, or what those third parties are able to do with the data

The Framework currently provides publishers with full control over which third parties – whether technology vendors or other data controllers – are disclosed on their websites, and which third parties the publishers solicit user consent for. The Framework also allows publishers (and their users) to prescribe the purposes for which the approved third parties may process data.  While in Version 1.0 the Framework is limited to controlling whether a given purpose is toggled on or off for all approved vendors, we are actively exploring technical solutions that would enable purpose-by-vendor controls for publishers and users.

2. Publishers are concerned about legal liability in the event of non-compliance by vendors

The Framework does not change rules on liability, which are defined by the law, including the GDPR, and contractual arrangements.  The Framework increases accountability by allowing a publisher to signal relevant information to technology vendors.  These signals create an audit trail that provides readily available evidence for identifying non-compliance and responsibility.

3. Publishers want user consent to be specific.

The version of the Framework put out for consultation foresees four different data processing purposes that websites would disclose – and could offer granular control for – accessing a device (ePrivacy Directive); advertising personalisation; analytics; and content personalisation. The proposed approach is a good-faith attempt to balance the conflicting imperatives of transparency and comprehensibility to the consumer, on the one hand, and ease of use for both publisher and user, on the other.

The Framework does not impose on users a take-it-or-leave it choice to accept or reject all third parties disclosed by the publisher, though some publishers may opt to present users with a take-it-or-leave-it choice.  Version 1.0 of the Framework will allow users to consent to some, all, or none of the data processing purposes disclosed, and to data processing (for those purposes) by some, all, or none of the third parties disclosed.  Moreover, publishers have complete control as to which third parties and which data processing purposes they solicit user consent for.

4. Publishers want to leverage the privileged relationship they have with their audiences

The Framework depends on publishers leveraging their direct relationships with their users to provide transparency and control over the data processing that occurs on their services. Publishers have complete freedom to define the user interfaces on their sites; they may create their own CMPs, or enlist a commercial CMP.  The Framework is deliberately not prescriptive in relation to the look and feel and ownership of the user experience.

The Framework empowers publishers to be more transparent and to offer more controls over the data processing undertaken by various technology providers for various purposes when users access a publisher’s content services, but entrusts publishers with deciding how best to leverage its possibilities.

No publisher-user relationship, whether privileged or otherwise, can exist if the production of content cannot be financed in a way that enables the creation of a compelling proposition for users.  The Framework has been created to enable publishers and the suppliers of other online services to continue to be able to choose how they finance their activities, and to enable users to choose how they access them.

We’ll keep surfacing the most recurrent queries and any misconceptions over the next few weeks.  Above all, we are looking forward to further input from all stakeholders, and an outcome that everyone can converge on as from May.