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IAB Proposes Standards for Third-Party Cookie-less Interactive Ads

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Facing the sunsetting of third-party cookies across all browsers in less than a year, cookies have helped power the online advertising ecosystem that supports free web content, the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) Tech Lab has released for comment proposed standards for "responsible addressability" and "predictable privacy."

IAB is holding its Annual Leadership Meeting this week, a virtual event that will set the organization's policy agenda.

Also Read: Firefox Ads Third-Party Cookie Blocking As Default Setting

The Lab is the interactive ad standards-setting body, which has been collaborating with media and the advertising community on "privacy-preserving specifications and best practices to support the development of open-source and proprietary solutions."

The standards are a result of that work--dubbed the Rearc Project--in concert with the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM).

The Lab wants industry to vet the specs and best practices as a foundation on which to build a way to target and measure ads while protecting consumer privacy.

“It's our collective responsibility to develop standards and solutions that put consumers in control,” said Lab CEO Dennis Buchheim in announcing the proposed standards. “We must rebuild trust globally in the digital supply chain and, in order to do that, accountability needs to serve as the foundation of everything we do. This must be provable and easy to understand. Once that is achieved, addressability can be established in new forms, through a portfolio of standards and practices.” 

The "accountability platform" standards are a way for members of the digital ad supply chain to provide "auditable" proof that they are honoring user preferences about, and restrictions on, targeted ads of users and Web sites.

There are also "global privacy platform" specs that build on prior standards to "ensure that user data is passed in a safe and transparent manner." It includes specs on encoding regional user data rights and preferences that are recognized throughout the supply chain.

"The release of these specifications and best practices marks an important milestone in PRAM and Tech Lab's efforts to lay the foundation for the next generation of addressable media, and it validates Tech Lab's vital role in leading this complex technical work for PRAM," said PRAM executive director Bill Tucker. "Over recent weeks, PRAM has moved aggressively into the implementation phase of its work with announcements around our code submission process, release of business use cases, and invitation to Google to engage directly with the industry on the future of ID standards," he said. "We look forward to continued cross-industry collaboration to operationalize these important steps." 

Comments on the global privacy platform are due April 8, while other comment periods end May 7.

Google announced last week that when it phases out third-party cookies, it will not try to come up with another way to identify and track browsing for the purposes of targeted advertising.