Who: The Data & Marketing Association (DMA)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 12 May 2020
Law stated as at: 30 June 2020
The DMA has released the Seven-Step AdTech Guide to help address the privacy challenges of real-time bidding (RTB) in programmatic advertising. The guide was produced in consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and in partnership with ISBA (a network of UK advertisers).
Programmatic advertising (that is, the use of software to automatically buy digital advertising) has grown and evolved hugely in recent years and allows billions of online adverts to be automatically placed on webpages and apps in the UK every day.
This form of advertising is supported by advertising technology (adtech) that allows advertisers to compete for available digital advertising space, including via RTB, in a very short space of time,. RTB is the buying and selling of online ad views through real-time auctions that occur very quickly, as a webpage loads. Adtech providers support this process by enabling advertisers to target recipients of advertising, and it is this process, in particular, which is a cause of concern for ICO.
A number of concerns have been identified by ICO relating to the protection of the rights of data subjects through the use of RTB in the automatic delivery of digital advertising. Areas of concern have included: the lack of transparency in gaining consent; the use of special category data; intrusive and disproportionate use of profiling; and the lack of adequately developed Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs).
The DMA’s AdTech guide is therefore aimed at supporting UK businesses who are actively engaged in the programmatic delivery of digital advertising, to ensure they protect the rights of data subjects.
The guidance is divided into seven steps:
- Education and Understanding – which provides an introduction to cookies and
- Special Category Data – which sets out how to identify and use special category data;
- Understanding the Data Journey – which explains how to complete a record of processing activities as well as introducing the IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework;
- Conduct a DPIA – which explains what a DPIA is and when to use it;
- Audit the Supply Chain – which provides audit check lists and questions to ask when auditing suppliers;
- Measure Advertising Effectiveness – which queries whether it’s necessary to use all the data collected through AdTech platforms and provides links to reference materials for improving insights into advertising effectiveness; and
- Alternatives to Third Party Cookies – which provides some suggestions about alternative methods of targeting including the adoption of contextual targeting as well as other industry initiatives which are exploring different ways of targeting in a less intrusive manner.
Why this matters?
In the past 12 months, ICO has expressed concerns over the complexity and scale of RTB and the risks it posed to the rights and freedoms of individuals.
The DMA’s SevenStep Guide is a useful aid for advertisers and marketers looking to navigate their way through the complexity of RTB and to address the concerns highlighted by ICO.