HomeInsightsIAB UK publishes consultation response to Government’s Online Advertising Programme

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The Online Advertising Programme (OAP) has been set up by the Government to review the regulatory framework of paid-for online advertising and explore whether changes are needed to bolster existing regulation. The OAP puts forward proposals that are intended to address both illegal and legal harms arising from online advertising and include measures aimed at advertisers, intermediaries, platforms and publishers.

The Government has proposed three outcomes for the review:

  1. continuing with the current self-regulatory approach;
  2. a co-regulatory arrangement that would see a statutory regulator introduced as a backstop to some or all parts of the advertising rules; or
  3. a full statutory approach that would see a statutory regulator given rulemaking, sanctioning and information-gathering powers.

The eventual outcome of this process could be a mix of these three eventualities, with some aspects of regulation seeing no or limited changes and others potentially changing considerably.

IAB UK’s response to the OAP consultation highlights where current industry systems are working and the existing industry-led standards, systems and tools that are proactively dealing with online harms where they arise. As well as strongly advocating for what is currently working, IAB UK also identifies specific areas where more work is needed and puts forward potential solutions that are proportionate and tailored to that specific issue.

The key points IAB UK makes include:

  • IAB UK does not believe that a case for intervention has been made; in particular, the bar for full statutory intervention has not been met;
  • IAB UK recommends that Government pursues an evidence-led approach based on option 1 focused on addressing existing and specific gaps in legislation, and identifying opportunities to bolster the existing mechanisms that allow industry to identify and disrupt harms where they occur;
  • IAB UK believes there needs to be a separate focus on what solutions are needed to better enforce the law against illegal and criminal actors; and
  • where gaps in the regulatory framework exist, IAB UK supports a targeted response that is evidence-led, proportionate and tailored to effectively address the specific harm.

To read IAB UK’s press release in full and for a link to its full response, click here.