Press Release

IAB’s well intentioned Global Privacy Platform overcomplicates online privacy and lacks ambition

16th August 2022: IAB TechLab closed the public comment period for their Global Privacy Platform (GPP) proposal. The aim is to create “a single protocol designed to streamline transmitting privacy, consent and consumer choice signals from sites and apps to ad tech providers.” 

Many, if not most of us, access the internet through a 6-inch screen in our pockets. Proposals to aid user privacy and control over data thus need to be simple and convenient. 

Movement for an Open Web (MOW) has identified a number of simplifications for GPP, which can be found in further detail here. For example, GPP creates a false dichotomy that positions ‘click box’ per domain consent over multidomain consent. GPP then promotes a per web domain consent as the preferred basis by which users’ are to control use of their personal data.  

GPP could be more ambitious. Greater user empowerment could be achieved by allowing users to give multidomain consent. A simpler set of people-friendly choices could be provided to users; there could be a single preference for personalised marketing from a suite of domains for multiple businesses. Per domain, as opposed to multidomain, favours integrated, i.e. large-scale, business over smaller companies. If changed, GPP could move away from IAB’s previous TCF 2 legacy and favour greater diversity.

Other issues with the draft GPP specification include: 

  • Using definitions of privacy that are detached from legal definitions of privacy.  
  • GPP is far easier for large organisations to implement than collections of smaller ones. 
  • Preference for Big Tech integrated platforms over decentralised networks and collaborative organisations. Competition between integrated organisations and networks of businesses will be affected. 

James Rosewell, Director of Movement for an Open Web said “GPP, while well intentioned, risks becoming another ‘distraction tax’ on the industry. IAB should steer it towards something that is easier for the industry and people to understand. This really means moving away from past complexity.” 

Tim Cowen, Chair of the Competition practice at Preiskel & Co said “When Big Tech Companies like Google can get industry trade bodies like IAB to sing to their tune, everyone should be worried. IAB should promote digital diversity, not Big Tech uniformity.”

Header image courtesy of Jason Dent via Unsplash (Licensed for free use under the Unsplash License)