APD suspends action plan implementation period in TCF case

Posted on Thursday 16 March 2023 | IAB UK

IAB Europe confirms that the Belgian Data Protection Authority (APD) has voluntarily suspended the six-month implementation period for IAB Europe’s action plan regarding the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF)

The Belgian Data Protection Authority has voluntarily suspended the six-month implementation period of IAB Europe’s action plan. This means that the the deadline of 11 July 2023 for IAB Europe to implement the action plan ceases to apply.

Following the decision by the APD in January to validate the action plan, IAB Europe lodged a second appeal before the Belgian Market Court against the APD decision to validate the action plan and requested interim measures. This is because the validation has occurred while outstanding points are being examined by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). 

As a result of IAB Europe’s legal challenge, the APD has decided to suspend voluntarily the implementation period of the action plan. The Belgian Market Court’s ruling on this second appeal is expected at the end of Q2 or beginning of Q3 2023. If it then upholds the APD’s validation decision of January 2023, despite the fact that this validation decision was taken while the appeal against the February 2022 is pending, the implementation period will resume at that time. This would postpone the deadline for implementation to Q4 2023 instead of 11 July 2023.

“The APD’s validation of the action plan was a welcome confirmation of the legality of the TCF, but its timing had raised legitimate concerns,” noted Townsend Feehan, IAB Europe CEO, “many organisations in the sector have shared their surprise that the APD imposed a deadline for implementation despite the referral of key questions to the European Court of Justice.”

 “Given the impact of that referral on the foundations of the APD’s decision of last year, and by extension on the action plan, that deadline in practice could have robbed the referral of its utility,” continued Feehan. “The voluntary suspension by the APD of the implementation of the action plan will enable the release of sustainable improvements to the TCF pending the decision of the Belgian Market Court.” 

In the meantime, IAB Europe will move forward with various iterations to the TCF that are less directly impacted by the CJEU procedure, including some that could not be contemplated in the allocated time.

An updated FAQ regarding the TCF can be found on IAB Europe’s website here.

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