TCF 2.0: IAB Europe action plan implementation will be pushed back to Q4 2023 (earliest)

On 15 March, IAB Europe confirmed that the Belgian Data Protection Authority (APD) has voluntarily suspended the six-month implementation period of the TCF 2.0 adaptation action plan.
In February 2022, the APD had partially declared the TCF 2.0 incompatible with the GDPR. A fine was imposed and the IAB Europe was requested to submit an action plan which should include the implementation of various remedial measures.
IAB Europe filed a lawsuit against the decision, and the competent Belgian court has since suspended the proceedings and referred the following questions to the ECJ: 1. Is the TC string considered personal data? 2. Should IAB Europe be regarded as the (Community) controller of personal data? The ECJ’s ruling is still pending.
The IAB Europe Action Plan
Simultaneously, IAB Europe worked on an action plan to address the GDPR violations. The proposal was accepted by the APD on January 11, 2023, with the authority formally declaring that the plan was in line with its interpretation of the GDPR. The implementation deadline for the action plan was set for six months (until July 11, 2023).
However, IAB Europe appealed again, this time against the APD’s decision to validate the action plan. If the APD proceeded with implementation before the ECJ’s decision, the TCF would have to be adjusted and then possibly reversed if the ECJ ruled otherwise.
The voluntary decision on the suspension of the action plan
Against this backdrop, the APD voluntarily suspended the implementation period of the action plan. The ruling of the Belgian Market Court is not expected before June/July 2023, so the implementation deadline will most likely be postponed to the fourth quarter of 2023 instead of July 11, 2023, as previously planned.
IAB Europe expressed relief about the suspension
“Many industry organizations have expressed surprise that APD has set a deadline for implementation, despite important issues being referred to the European Court of Justice,” said Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe.
Until the ECJ’s ruling is made, IAB Europe plans to continue with an iteration of TCF 2.0, which will presumably be less impacted by the upcoming ECJ decision.