This week the ICO announced that it is resuming its investigation into the real time bidding (RTB) and the adtech industry. The investigation began in 2019, with the ICO issuing an update report in June 2019 setting out its initial findings (which you can read about here). However, the investigation was paused in May 2020 while the regulator prioritised responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ICO will now commence a series of audits to further assess compliance in this area. Interestingly, the ICO also plans to tie in its recent investigation into the data broking sector because of the roll that data broking plays in the RTB ecosystem.
We don't expect any substantive updates soon (the ICO notes that this is a complex area and progress may take some time), but the ICO reminds adtech vendors that they should waste no time waiting for the ICOs findings, as there is already plenty of guidance in respect of general data protection issues that apply to the industry as much as any other organisation.
All organisations operating in the adtech space should be assessing how they use personal data as a matter of urgency. We already have existing, comprehensive guidance in this area, which applies to RTB and adtech in the same way it does to other types of processing – particularly in respect of consent, legitimate interests, data protection by design and data protection impact assessments (DPIAs)