It’s rare that the IAB needs to step in to clarify the position of one of its members, but that’s exactly what IAB Europe did yesterday. In a unique act, the European media, technology and marketing association, elected to issue a clarifying position statement, distancing itself from the comments of one of its members, Google, that sent the industry into panic last week.

So, what did Google say? I’ll let their words speak for themselves. In a blog post on March 3rd, entitled ‘Charting a course towards a more privacy first web’, David Temkin, Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust, made the bold statement that, “once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.” The post went on to say that ANY ad targeting based on PII graphs, including email addresses, or other identity resolution solutions, will not “meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t sustainable.”

Not surprising, Mr. Temkin went on to state that Google-led initiatives such as FLoC based cohorts, and the ecosystem of Google platforms and services to develop and deliver those audiences to buyers, are the answer to consumer and industry privacy concerns. Conveniently omitted was the reality of Google’s own 1st party data position as the owner and operator of Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Search and other identity and data assets that would continue to make Google compliant under their new rules, and the predominant arbiter of identity.

Well, this week, IAB Europe ‘clarified’ their position in a carefully worded and long titled blog post that reads like a Federal Reserve Chairman’s address to the nation… attempting to avoid upsetting its constituents, and further upsetting the markets. The IAB stated unequivocally, that “the EU’s highly prescriptive privacy and data protection laws do not prohibit the processing of identifiers for the delivery and measurement of digital advertising”. They went on to say that the core of their privacy position is “transparency and choice” and that “data controllers be held accountable for respecting the choices that consumers make”.

…the EU’s highly prescriptive privacy and data protection laws do not prohibit the processing of identifiers for the delivery and measurement of digital advertising

IAB Europe

Most telling was the final paragraph of the IAB’s post, where they state that the IAB “want an innovative, dynamic future for digital advertising in which advertisers, publishers and consumers have a wide range of paradigms and suppliers from which to choose”. 

NAI – “Privacy is a shared commitment”

The NAI also released a statement from President & CEO Leigh Freund (see here) sharing the similar sentiments as the IAB:

The relationships between consumers and the brands and publishers they engage with are indeed critical, and it also is important that there be a level playing field between first-party platforms and other stakeholders in the ad ecosystem. Privacy is a shared commitment, but it should not be used as a barrier so that platforms or technology intermediaries hold all the data about online activities.

Network Advertising Initiative (NAI)

We at Carbon agree with the IAB & NAI. 

As a fully compliant provider of data and audience engagement technology, we are committed to providing our publisher clients a robust solution to engage with their audiences, provide them excellent content, a positive on-site experience, and continue to make that content available for free in a fair, transparent and respectful manner to the choice of the consumer.