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IAB Europe's DSA Transparency: Implementation Guidelines

Jan 22,2024
Amy Mazzola
Data ProtectionDSAKnowledgeHub

The DSA, adopted in October 2022, sets transparency obligations for online platforms, aiming to improve consumer and business confidence in online products, services, and advertising. Scheduled to come into effect on 16 February 2024 for platform companies, the DSA mandates real-time access to specific information for users on online platforms. 

In July 2022, IAB Europe created a DSA Taskforce to evaluate industry needs for standardisation in support of compliance with ads transparency requirements outlined in the DSA, with an initial focus on Art. 26. Key elements mandated by Article 26 include the disclosure of information such as the nature of the advertisement, the advertiser's identity, the party financing the ad, main parameters for ad targeting, and information on user-controlled changes to these parameters.

The taskforce includes technical and legal/policy experts from a variety of companies across the advertising ecosystem. The taskforce has produced these new Implementation Guidelines to support implementation of a standardised approach to collect, compile, and transport the required data, ensuring compliance with the DSA transparency requirements. 

To support a diverse range of use cases, the guidelines outline two parallel transport pathways for rendering DSA transparency information: one through the online platform (publisher) and the other through the ad creative. The document also addresses non-programmatic scenarios, direct deals, in-app support, and specific considerations for video players.

Stakeholders are encouraged to review the guidelines and implement them in line with their business requirements. The document includes detailed notes for implementers, expected roles for transparency support, and FAQs addressing common queries from industry participants.

The technical specification, hosted by IAB Tech Lab here, provides data formats and a mechanism for the transport of the data that are required to enable the advertising industry to implement relevant DSA transparency information. This solution should be adaptable across most relevant use cases, including programmatic and non-programmatic media buys, and for channels including desktop web, mobile (web/app), video, and CTV. 

Recognising the collaboration required in the advertising ecosystem, IAB Tech Lab and IAB Europe’s Taskforce have aligned the guidelines with the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) for user choice and control over parameters. The guidelines provide roles and responsibilities for different stakeholders, ensuring a seamless implementation process.

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