The IAB Europe has today (March 8) released the draft technical specifications of its Transparency & Consent Framework for 30 days pending feedback from digital marketers.

The framework comprises guidance for all digital advertising members to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), intended as an industry-wide solution for companies that want to access and process the personal data of individuals.

The announcement follows just days after a number of networks sent a combined message to affiliate publishers in efforts to clarify the potential impact of the regulatory update on the industry. This was met by further concern among publishers, who suggested that idiosyncrasies in the various networks’ approaches to GDPR would cause arduous integration work and complexity.

The IAB’s framework, which is available to companies based in Europe and around the world, is designed to support various channels and formats, including mobile and desktop. In short, it includes the technical specifications that will allow companies and consumers to have greater control over, and dynamic insight into, the parties who access and process the personal data of consumers in the EU.

In the case of display advertising, for example, publishers and advertisers could access a list of compliant vendors operating with standardised disclosure, and be able to target their audiences, while providing companies with a means to build a standardised technical solution obtaining consent transparently for approved vendors.

Following the draft release today, the Transparency & Consent Framework – a “non-commercial, open source initiative” will be finalised and re-released in mid-April following consultation with publishers, advertisers and other members of the industry.

In the wake of the announcement, global ad tech firm AppNexus – which worked with the IAB to develop the framework among a number of other parties such as GroupM – claimed it “strongly supported” the initiative, encouraging members of the industry to adopt it as soon as possible. However, the company was also frank about its limitations as a standardised solution, commenting that “it’s important to note its specific and limited remit”.

“The framework creates technical specifications and pipes that enable publishers working in different countries and regulatory regimes to meet local transparency or consent requirements.

It’s designed to provide a standard infrastructure to pass information between publishers and their technology partners without imposing a single policy interpretation.”

Addressing the confusion present en masse throughout the digital marketing industry around GDPR, AppNexus pointed to the importance of a universal approach to gathering consent and using data, given that the industry will “have to do a better job” of explaining reasons for data collection and its intended use to consumers, if they are to bind the “social contracts” needed post May 25.

“If everyone in the ecosystem uses a different method and different language to describe the data being collected from users, how that data is being used, and how users can exercise choice and control over that data, there will be mass confusion and the online advertising ecosystem will face existential challenges. No one should want to see that happen.”