IAB to bring in third-party auditing for companies seeking Gold Standard

Industry body moves to address ongoing privacy concerns with digital supply chain.

Online trust: Gold Standard 2.0 will incorporate Transparency and Consent Framework
Online trust: Gold Standard 2.0 will incorporate Transparency and Consent Framework

The Internet Advertising Bureau UK has launched a new version of its Gold Standard certification process that will be independently audited by a third party.

In a move to address ongoing privacy concerns with the digital supply chain, the IAB’s Gold Standard 2.0 will incorporate the Transparency and Consent Framework, a widely promoted industry standard for online advertising. 

The new process will be introduced in the fourth quarter after an industry consultation to agree on the compliance criteria for incorporating the TCF. The plans were announced this morning (Wednesday) by Tim Elkington, the IAB’s chief digital officer, at the organisation’s inaugural Digital Trust Forum in London.

The IAB did not specify which company or body would independently audit the certification process for businesses trying to obtain the new Gold Standard.

The Gold Standard, introduced in 2017, aims to reduce ad fraud, improve the digital advertising experience and increase brand safety. There are currently 93 media owners, media agencies and adtech companies certified, with another 11 registered to certify.  

But privacy critics have blamed the TCF, released in March 2018 on the eve of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation coming into force, for being inadequate in ensuring user consent in the way online ads are served programmatically. The IAB launched a 2.0 version of the TCF last year.

The UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, has urged the adtech industry to reform the way internet user data is collected and stored through real-time bidding. 

Simon McDougall, who is investigation the RTB industry at the ICO, announced last week that he was satisfied with the progress that Google and the IAB were making. Privacy campaigners, however, are considering legal action to force the ICO into issuing stronger sanctions on companies that have been flouting privacy laws.

Elkington said: "The Gold Standard only remains relevant if it evolves to keep pace with challenges our industry faces. As we seek to improve transparency and build trust in digital advertising, addressing privacy concerns is a key part of that. We will now be embarking on a process of consultation with IAB UK members to agree how to effectively incorporate the TCF into the Gold Standard – a key step as we seek to build a responsible and sustainable future for the digital ad industry."

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