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IAB Europe

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 117776, tabled on 3 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recent Belgian Court ruling that IAB Europe’s consent popups are unlawful.

Answered on

9 February 2022

IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) is a consent management mechanism used by websites and apps to manage users' preferences around online advertising, including through cookie pop-ups. It aims to communicate an individual's preferences between online services and other participants within the advertising supply chain.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published an Opinion in November 2021 that set out clear data protection standards that companies must meet when developing online advertising technologies in order to safeguard people’s privacy. The Opinion noted at paragraph 3.6.1 that to be compliant with the UK’s data protection and privacy legislation, the TCF needed to do more to ensure transparency, fair processing and free and informed consent. The ICO will be assessing the implications for UK companies of the Belgian Court’s ruling in the coming weeks. The ICO’s full Opinion can be viewed here.

Separately, the government has been exploring through the public consultation, Data; A New Direction, whether innovative technologies, such as browser-based solutions, can be designed in a legally-compliant way to help web users manage their consent preferences on the internet. The consultation closed on 19 November 2021 and the government’s response will be published later this year. The consultation paper can be viewed here.