Interactive Advertising Bureau
31 March 2021

Announcement of Formal Withdrawal of The “IAB Europe OBA Framework” of 2011

Brussels, 31 March 2021 – IAB Europe today announced the formal withdrawal of the "IAB Europe EU Framework for Online Behavioural Advertising"  or “OBA Framework”, originally published in 2011.  This step is being taken following a review of the Framework in light of the changes brought to EU data protection law by the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and to eliminate the risk of confusion between the OBA Framework and the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF) issued three years ago by IAB Europe and the network of National IABs in Europe.

Together with the EASA Best Practice Recommendation on OBA, the OBA Framework documented a self-regulatory initiative that would enable consumers to click on an icon appearing in the upper right-hand corner of a digital advertisement and stop receiving OBA ads from the vendor who had placed the ad on the website the user was visiting[1].  The two texts together became the basis for the EDAA  AdChoices icon “opt-out” programme launched at the same time.  Under this programme, third-party ad tech vendors licence the icon and access the platform or implement an own interstitial page that consumers may use to “opt out” of the collection and use of data for OBA by those vendors. Technically, the OBA Framework requires vendors to stop the delivery of OBA ads, though not the collection of OBA data (nonetheless, many vendors have elected to stop the data collection).

The legal framework of the day comprised the 1995 Data Protection Directive and the 2009 ePrivacy Directive, both implemented in national law in the various EU Member States, with differences in those implementations that were in some cases significant.  In Germany, the Telemedia Act and the absence of any dedicated text transposing the ePrivacy Directive created a unique rationale and demand for the use of the AdChoices icon “opt-out” until the CJEU’s Planet49 ruling in autumn 2019 and the final judgement by the German Federal Court of Justice last year.

With the adoption of the GDPR in 2016 and the general applicability of the Regulation as from May 2018, the value and relevance of the OBA Framework to both the industry and consumers substantially altered. The requirements of the law now go beyond the functionality that it prescribes.  Due to its lack of alignment to the updated legal landscape, if it continued to remain “in circulation”, the OBA Framework would cause confusion in the market.

[1] Specifically, the opt-out covered the “collection-and-use” of data on web-viewing behaviours over time and across multiple domains for the purpose of delivering OBA ads.

For more information:

Please contact Filip Sedefov, IAB Europe’s Legal Director (, if you have any questions or concerns about IAB Europe’s privacy and data protection legal compliance or self-regulation work.


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