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5 reasons why NOW is the right time to adopt TCF v2, the IAB’s updated Transparency and Consent Framework

July 24, 2020byYannig Roth

A lot has been said and written about TCF v2, and how to prepare the transition from v1 to v2. However, there are still some publishers who did not participate in the first version of the framework asking themselves whether it’s worth joining now. While TCF is on the path to becoming the prevailing standard of the digital advertising industry, we wanted to address these questions by sharing why we think publishers should consider adopting the IAB’s new Transparency and Consent Framework. If you are still on the fence or uncertain as to what this is all about, read on.

In summary, TCF v1 was created to help all parties in the digital advertising chain comply with the EU’s GDPR and ePrivacy Directive when processing personal data. Although its main goal was to establish a relevant structure for compliance, there were a number of gaps in the TCF v1 framework, which prevented publishers from exercising enough control over how their user information could be used by third parties. 

Also, it didn’t provide a good way to process legitimate interests. In addition, some of the largest players in the industry such as Google were not participating in the framework before TCF v2, causing many to opt against joining. Finally, Consent Management Platform (CMP) compliance was not as strict as it is now, which meant people lacked confidence as to whether the framework could actually be enforced. 

Learning from this experience, last year the IAB released a new version of its Transparency and Consent Framework, TCF v2, in order to solve these shortcomings and inspire publishers and vendors to adopt the framework. 

 Here are the 5 reasons why now is the time to consider adopting TCF v2: 

  1. A framework built by the industry for the industry
  2. Publishers have more control
  3. Processing of legitimate interest
  4. Easier to comply using a CMP
  5. Participation of the digital advertising industry big players

1 – A framework built by the industry for the industry

TCF v2 was issued by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, but it was created with input from all players in the online advertising ecosystem. It is the outcome of a rigorous 12-month review and close consultation with key stakeholders including publishers, data protection authorities, vendors, and CMPs to make sure they address the flaws in the first version. 

The framework now supports a wide range of publisher business models while benefiting consumer data protection through more transparency and choice. This thoughtful approach to revamp the framework has made it more relevant for a greater number of publishers.

2 – Publishers have more control

As the primary owner of the interaction with their visitors, publishers had the right to demand more control over how their user information can be used. TCF v2 empowers them to create different rules and limitations for how third parties process their user data. They can select the purposes vendors can and cannot process and share this information within the TCF consent string. With this increased transparency, it is now easy for vendors to see if they have the appropriate permission to use the data and operate in a GDPR compliant manner. 

3 – Enabling processing of legitimate interest

The processing of legitimate interest was one of the most obvious gaps in the previous version of the TCF because it did not give the option for users to object on how their data will be processed. Prior to TCF v2, publishers were unable to use the framework for their own purposes if they used legitimate interest. Publishers using legitimate interest as their primary legal basis were de facto excluded from TCF v1. 

The support of legitimate interest in TCF v2 now allows users to directly express through a TCF-compliant Consent Management Platform (CMP) their “right to object” to a vendor processing their personal data on the basis of legitimate interest. 

In addition, publishers can now override a vendor’s preference for legitimate interest as their legal basis and require them to only process data using a specific legal basis or not process at all. 

4 – Easier to comply using a CMP

The common concern of publishers when joining a framework is how they can ensure that their choices will be enforced and how to remain in compliance with GDPR guidelines. The IAB has designed open-source technical specifications to standardise the collection and transmission of user choice in order to make the information available across the digital advertising supply chain. This is only possible when consent signals are integrated into a technology solution, called a Consent Management Platform (CMP)

A CMP facilitates the capturing, storing and signalling of consent in an industry-standard manner. The IAB has created a list of validated CMPs and provides access to a CMP validator tool to help Consent Management Providers (CMPs) and publishers check that their CMP meets TCF v2 technical specifications and policies. In order to be certified TCF v2 compliant, CMPs are held to a higher standard than before. 

5 – Participation of the digital advertising industry big players

One of the largest obstacles holding back the adoption of TCF v1 was that Google did not participate in the first version of the framework. However, this time around, the tech giant is not only joining but has even been involved in the TCF v2 creation process.  This represents a major shift for vendors who no longer have to switch or decide which set of guidelines and rules (Google’s or the IAB’s) to follow.

The participation of Google and other mainstream players in the digital advertising ecosystem such as Criteo or Taboola is clearly positioning TCF v2 as the prevailing market standard and should increase its adoption. In the future, it will be more and more common to display advertising via those providers with the IAB Transparency & Consent String which can only be generated with an IAB-certified Consent Management Platform (CMP).

To summarize, publishers should look forward to adopting TCF v2 since this new version of the IAB framework addresses the flaws of its first version while still serving its main goals: enabling publishers and all players in the advertising ecosystem comply with GDPR whilst still reaping the benefits of digital advertising. 

How can Didomi assist your TCF v2 transition?

Didomi is working hard to make the transition as smooth and efficient as possible. Our team is here to help you assess your current situation and prepare to switch over to TCF v2. 

This is why we have organised 2 webinar sessions to go over the necessary steps to comply with this new framework before the August 15th deadline. Watch the replay of our 10 steps to Transition to TCF v2 on YouTube, or register for the upcoming final countdown webinar: Key considerations before switching over to TCF v2 (Thursday July 30th 2020).

Download our checklist to keep track of the different steps to manage this transition:

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