BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - 7th September 2022: IAB Europe acknowledges the interim ruling handed down today by the Belgian Market Court (part of the Brussels Court of Appeal) in connection with IAB Europe’s appeal of the February 2022 decision by the Belgian Data Protection Authority (APD) on IAB Europe and the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF). In its interim ruling, the Market Court has decided to refer preliminary questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on how the concept of data controllership in the GDPR as it pertains in this case, is to be interpreted and on whether a TC String (a digital signal containing user preferences) can be considered as “personal data” under the GDPR. The referral to the CJEU means that a final judgement by the Market Court is unlikely until 2023 or even 2024.
IAB Europe welcomes the Market Court’s decision to seek guidance from the CJEU. “The interpretation of the notions of personal data and controllership embraced by the APD is unnecessarily broad from a consumer protection point of view and has significant negative implications for the development of open standards and the Codes of Conduct foreseen in the GDPR,” noted Townsend Feehan, IAB Europe’s CEO. “It would place an unacceptable financial burden on host organisations, discouraging the development of these important compliance tools”.
An updated FAQ on the case may be consulted on IAB Europe's website here.