Mumbai: IAB Tech Lab, the global digital advertising technical standards-setting body, has announced the launch of the Accountability Platform, a technical audit framework designed to help businesses deliver greater transparency in using personal data for addressability.
The platform – which will be open for a public comment period till 27 February 2024 – is essential in establishing a consistent standard for the data structures and reporting mechanisms companies across the digital advertising supply chain deploy to address consumer privacy preferences.
“Compliance without assessment is a promise unfulfilled. The goal of the Accountability Platform is not only for companies to be able to say they are adhering to the privacy choices of consumers but to be able to prove it through a normalized set of compliance data usable for self-assessment, and third-party assessment,” said IAB Tech Lab CEO Anthony Katsur. “Without consistent and widely accepted accountability measures in place concerning the disclosure of consumer privacy preferences in digital advertising, there is a risk that organizations may only fulfil their obligations superficially, leaving room for non-compliance or unethical practices.”
Katsur continued, “The ability to assess an organization’s compliance against consumer privacy laws is a requirement reflected in current US and European privacy laws. Consumers exercise their rights under privacy laws which industry participants pass through signals in the digital advertising supply chain. The Accountability Platform assesses the integrity and consistency of that signal around consumer privacy preferences, playing an essential role in demonstrating greater transparency and respect for individuals’ privacy preferences.”
Companies that pass and receive data to support personalised advertising can leverage the Accountability Platform to audit that their business partners are honoring consumer-provided consent signals throughout the supply chain. This includes brands and publishers, supply-side and buy-side technology companies, identity resolution technology providers, other third-party data providers, processors, and data collaboration solutions (aka clean rooms).
The Accountability Platform is designed to provide consistent technical audit opportunities to support the industry in audit obligations, investigations, and other checks and balances endeavors. Further, it demonstrates who’s involved in data sharing and their conformity to the preferences and restrictions set by users and the digital properties they visit.
This is achieved through common logging practices, pairwise sender/receiver transaction information, randomisation of data submission to prevent bad actors from gaming the system to avoid scrutiny, and a standard interface to submit and retrieve records for analysis.
IAB Tech Lab calls for industry-wide adoption of this technical standard to enable true auditability and consistency across the supply chain.