Blocking 500 Million Users Is NOT Easier Than Complying With GDPR

On the launch of the GDPR on May 25th, 2018, millions of EU citizens were blocked from content by North American web properties.

This headline is alarming for several reasons. Firstly, the GDPR should have been on the radar since 2015 when we began to present the implications to the industry. Secondly, IAB Europe has rolled out a global consent mechanism to make it easier to comply with the GDPR and it has gained mass adoption with the ad tech sector. Thirdly and most importantly, one of the major issues arising out of discussions on the GDPR requirements as well as the ePrivacy legislation is the fact that publishers and platforms must not predicate access on user consent to capture and use data.

While hundreds of vendors had already registered ahead of the deadline to ensure that consent captured at the publisher level could be transferred across the supply chain, many publishers were unprepared without proper interfaces to capture opt-in consent across various purposes of data use.

IAB Europe has been working hard to iron out details around the consent mechanism launched in March. While publishers grapple with the new reality of GDPR compliance which is not addressed with self-regulatory mechanisms such as Ad Choices, some feel the best option is to block content all together until the framework is widely adopted.

We anticipate a surge of adoption in the coming weeks as Google is actively working with IAB to implement the IAB consent mechanism appropriately.

While work continues to be done on refining implementation, the IAB framework is currently the industry’s best option. Broad adoption within the industry would show solidary and commitment to compliance to regulators.