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IAB Tech Lab Releases for Comment a Portfolio of Standards for Responsible Addressability and Predictable Privacy

Initial Specifications and Best Practices Support Re-Architecting Digital Media for Addressability with Accountability and Privacy

NEW YORK — March 9, 2021 — With less than a year until the sunset of third-party cookies across all browsers, and with imminent changes to mobile advertising IDs, IAB Tech Lab, the digital advertising technical standards-setting body, has been collaborating with the advertising and media industry to develop privacy-preserving specifications and best practices to support the development of open-source and proprietary solutions. This work initiated as “Project Rearc” a year ago and we joined forces last summer with the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM), which brings together business, policy, and technical efforts across a full range of industry stakeholders.

At the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM), Tech Lab will unveil several technical specifications and best practices that are open to industry comment. 

The Tech Lab urges the industry to participate in vetting these specifications and best practices, which are designed to provide a foundation on which to build responsible targeting, measurement, and attribution solutions that put consumer privacy and accountability at the forefront. One way to do so is to join PRAM working groups, including technical working groups, which Tech Lab oversees.

“It’s our collective responsibility to develop standards and solutions that put consumers in control,” said Dennis Buchheim, Chief Executive Officer, IAB Tech Lab. “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.” 

All of the specifications and best practices being released are designed to be pragmatic, secure, scalable, supportive of marketplace innovation, and enablers of conformity to data transparency standards for publishers, advertisers, and constituents across the advertising ecosystem, whether or not advertisers and publishers are able to connect their audiences directly.   

  • The Accountability Platform helps ensure that all supply chain participants can consistently prove that they are adhering to user preferences. It provides specifications for open, auditable data structures, and standard practices intended to reliably demonstrate digital advertising supply chain conformity to preferences and restrictions set by users and the digital properties they visit. 
  • Tied to accountability, the Global Privacy Platform specification builds on prior standards to ensure that user data is passed in a safe and transparent manner. It addresses capturing and encoding regional user data rights and preferences into a standardized format that can be propagated through the supply chain. The aim is to offer users reliable transparency and control, and to support efficient compliance for industry participants amidst ongoing regulatory evolution. The Global Privacy Platform is designed to plug into the Accountability Platform, which enables compliance programs to analyze whether the advertising supply chain respects user preferences. 

“Predictable user privacy – across platforms and devices – can only be achieved through open standards where all stakeholders have a say at the table,” said Jordan Mitchell, SVP, Head of Consumer Privacy, Identity and Data, IAB Tech Lab. “This foundation must be established and provide transparency and control to users. It must not only comply with consumers’ preferences, but it must also consistently demonstrate that compliance.”

Two addressability-focused releases are also being announced for public comment, supporting separate but complementaryapproaches and intended interoperability with the Accountability Platform.

  • Best Practices for User-Enabled Identity Tokens is a set of guidelines to ensure security and consumer privacy in scenarios when publishers and marketers offer personalized content and services tied to a user-provided email or phone number.
  • Taxonomy and Data Transparency Standards to Support Seller-defined Audience and Context Signaling provides specifications for ad-supported publisher content when no user-provided or third-party identifier is available, relying on standardized seller-defined audience and contextual attributes being passed within OpenRTB (real-time bidding).

The industry has been quick to embrace email- and phone-number-based IDs(whether used to directly connect publisher and advertiser audiences or not).To ensure that consumer identity and safety remains a top priority, Best Practices for User-Enabled Identity Tokens emphasizes the minimization of consumer privacy threats via encryption and layered, multi-party security to prevent unauthorized access and use, especially when passed to third-party partners to support addressability use cases.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Taxonomy and Data Transparency Standards to Support Seller-defined Audience and Context Signaling enables meaningful addressability for buyers – using existing and widely adopted taxonomy and data transparency standards – when there is no ability to connect their audience directly to a publisher’s audience. 

“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 Bill Tucker, Executive Director, PRAM. “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. We look forward to continued cross-industry collaboration to operationalize these important steps.” 

To review the proposed standard and provide feedback, please go to: Please note that the Global Privacy Platform comment length is 30 days (ending April 8, 2021), while other comment periods are 60 days (ending May 7, 2021).

These specifications and best practices will be discussed further at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM) at 11:45 AM ET, today (March 9). For more information visit: 

Additionally, IAB Tech Lab will be hosting “Addressability Solution Roadshow” on Wednesday, March 24, a virtual webinar to educate participants through these solutions. If interested, please register at

About IAB Technology Laboratory 

Established in 2014, the IAB Technology Laboratory (Tech Lab) is a non-profit consortium that engages a member community globally to develop foundational technology and standards that enable growth and trust in the digital media ecosystem. Comprised of digital publishers, ad technology firms, agencies, marketers, and other member companies, IAB Tech Lab focuses on solutions for brand safety and ad fraud; identity, data, and consumer privacy; ad experiences and measurement; and programmatic effectiveness. Its work includes the OpenRTB real-time bidding protocol, ads.txt anti-fraud specification, Open Measurement SDK for viewability and verification, VAST video specification, and Project Rearc initiative for privacy-centric addressability. Board members/companies are listed at:

For more information, please visit: