With GDPR Deadline Looming, Ad Tech Community Proposes Collaborative Industry Solution


By Richard S. Eisert, Gary A. Kibel and Justin Lee

With just weeks remaining before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes enforceable, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Technology Laboratory (IAB Tech Lab) has published an OpenRTB GDPR Advisory explaining how a collaborative information sharing process may help ad tech companies comply with the GDPR.

By way of background, the primary goal of the GDPR is to give individuals in the EU more control over how their “personal data” (including cookie IDs and device identifiers) is used, and by whom. The GDPR seeks to do that by requiring individuals to affirmatively consent or “opt in” to the use of their personal data.

The Advisory specifies how ad tech companies can pass user consent through the OpenRTB protocol during a real-time bidding transaction for advertising inventory. Similar to the way a COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) signal can be conveyed between parties engaged in an ad call, this new string conveys a signal regarding whether GDPR-compliant consent has been obtained. Such real-time sharing of user consent information among publishers, buyers and data companies would be beneficial to all participants in the online advertising ecosystem.

While this process has not been officially endorsed by EU regulators, the Advisory may provide a possible solution for ad tech companies as they seek to finalize their compliance with the GDPR by the May 25 deadline. The Advisory is a reminder of the importance of finding solutions to meet the consent requirements under the GDPR before that time.


Ad tech companies, like all other businesses subject to the GDPR, are facing an imminent compliance deadline. Companies may be able to seek GDPR-compliant solutions through their own internal initiatives, using third-party services or collaborating with others in the industry.

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Richard S. Eisert

Digital Media, Technology & Privacy Partner

Davis & Gilbert LLP

212.468.4863 // reisert@dglaw.com

Gary A. Kibel

Digital Media, Technology & Privacy

Davis & Gilbert LLP

212.468.4918 // gkibel@dglaw.com

Justin Lee

Digital Media, Technology & Privacy Associate

Davis & Gilbert LLP

212.468.4894 // jlee@dglaw.com