An update on our Special Category Data work

Posted on: Tuesday 31 March 2020 | Christie Dennehy-Neil - Head of Policy & Regulatory Affairs

One of the six key points raised in the ICO’s ‘Update report’ was the processing of special category data without explicit consent being obtained, as a consequence of data that is, or may be, contained in real-time bid requests.

In our response to the ‘Update report’ we set out our views on special category data and RTB, and committed to a number of related actions. These include producing guidance on special category data, as well as looking specifically at factors that can contribute to the potential risk of such data being processed without explicit consent and how to minimise that risk. 

Our special category data guidance will be published in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, there are two other pieces of work that it is worth being aware of:


Content Taxonomy v2.0
We are working on developing guidelines for the UK market to minimise the inclusion of certain kinds of content category data in a bid request when it is generated. This work is based on identifying content categories or tiers within the Content Taxonomy version 2.0 that are obviously sensitive so that they can be excluded from bid requests. 

IAB UK and IAB Tech Lab are working to determine how the Content Taxonomy itself could be helpful in technical implementation across the supply chain in a way that would not adversely impact the ad serving process or other processes such as content verification.

Our guidelines are part of our work designed to help our members to minimise the risks that can arise because this type of information could potentially constitute special category data, depending on how and for what purpose it is processed. We will share the draft proposals with members for comment. 


Additional safeguards
As part of ongoing efforts to put privacy-by-design principles into practice, IAB and IAB Tech Lab have introduced three additional safeguards into some of the most widely used standards in its portfolio - OpenRTB, Content Taxonomy, and Audience Taxonomy. These proposals are now available for 30-day public comment until 30 April 2020. Find out more and how to provide feedback here


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Written by

Christie Dennehy-Neil

Head of Policy & Regulatory Affairs


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