Belgian DPA Expected to Rule that IAB Europe’s Cookie Consent Framework Violates the GDPR

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On November 5, 2021, IAB Europe (“IAB EU”) announced that, in the coming weeks, the Belgian Data Protection Authority plans to share with other data protection authorities a draft ruling on the IAB EU Transparency & Consent Framework (“TCF”). The TCF is a GDPR consent solution built by IAB EU that has become a widely used approach to collecting consent to cookies under the GDPR. The draft ruling is expected to find that the TCF does not comply with the GDPR, in part because IAB EU acts as a controller, and the digital signals the TCF creates to capture individuals’ consent to cookies are personal data under the GDPR. Because IAB EU does not consider itself a controller with respect to the TCF, it does not currently comply with the GDPR’s controller obligations.

If other concerned data protection authorities raise objections to the Belgian DPA’s draft ruling, the matter may be referred to the European Data Protection Board for a binding decision.

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