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IAB Tech Lab releases for public comment, specification for DSA Transparency

IAB Tech Lab has made an MVP specification available for public comment to help Online Platforms comply with the DSA which goes into effect on February 17, 2024. The DSA Transparency specification is open for a public comment period ending on December 31st, 2023. Feedback may be sent to

About the DSA

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is a regulation that pertains to online intermediaries and platforms and is applicable across the whole EU. The primary goal of the DSA is to enhance the trust of both individual consumers and business users when utilizing online platforms. This extends to the products, services, and advertisements they encounter on these platforms. Specifically, the DSA establishes transparency requirements related to advertising; these obligations apply to Online Platforms, “Very Large Online Platforms” (VLOPs), and “Very Large Online Search Engines” (VLOSEs) as defined by the Digital Services Act. 

Article 26 of the DSA requires Online Platforms to ensure that users have real-time access to certain elements of information about any ad shown to them on an Online Platform:

  • That the ad is indeed an ad;
  • The identity of the advertiser;
  • The identity of the party that financed the ad, if it is different from the advertiser;
  • Information about the “main parameters” used to select the ad presented to the end-user;
  • Where applicable, information about any means users may have at their disposal to change those main parameters

About the Specification

Although the DSA focuses on regulating Online Platforms, these entities often do not possess immediate access to the data mandated by this regulation. As a result, adtech intermediaries play a crucial role in aiding Online Platforms in meeting their compliance obligations. The objective of this MVP specification is to leverage established standards, particularly openRTB, for the transfer of the necessary transparency information.

This specification introduces the following extensions in OpenRTB 2.x: 

  • Extension in Object:Regs – allows for publishers to indicate that a transaction is subject to DSA and whether they will render the required transparency information themselves
  • Extension in Object:Bid  – allows for DSPs to provide publishers with the requested transparency information and indicate whether they will render the required transparency information

It’s important to emphasize that this initial version is designed as an MVP to satisfy a near-term market regulatory requirement. The Tech Lab will iterate on the solution and continue to look to IAB Europe for policy and requirements guidance.

This blog post has been updated to amend the public comment period end date.


Rowena Lam
Senior Director, Privacy & Data
IAB Tech Lab