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IAB Tech Lab Accelerates Privacy Taxonomy Project with Fides Language Product Donation

In a significant stride towards advancing privacy in the digital advertising industry, the IAB Tech Lab received a generous donation from Ethyca. Ethyca’s Fides Language (Fideslang) product at the heart of this donation will help accelerate defining privacy standards within the ad tech industry. Tech Lab has expressed enthusiasm for this valuable contribution, recognizing the transformative potential Fideslang brings to the ecosystem.

Fideslang, developed by Ethyca, represents five years of work to enhance data privacy practices. The inherent value of Fideslang lies in its ability to bridge the gap between legal and dev teams as a single interoperable means for labeling data and describing privacy in data processing systems. Fideslang functions as a high-level definition or description language specifically designed to describe the privacy characteristics of software systems, their associated data sets, and any external data sources or destinations. This post describing the first public draft of Fideslang is a helpful place to learn the basics.

“Fideslang provides an easy-to-read-and-write definition language for privacy, which facilitates clearer communication around data privacy governance,” said Ethyca CEO & Founder, Cillian Kieran. “We feel there is a direct alignment with the Privacy Taxonomy initiative from Tech Lab and hope to accelerate the standardization of a privacy taxonomy with this donation.”

The IAB Tech Lab plans to integrate Fides into the Privacy Implementation & Accountability Task Force’s Privacy Taxonomy Project. The Privacy Taxonomy Project aims to create a common taxonomy that enables businesses to not only effectively manage their data and privacy compliance practices, but also create a common language for communicating between partners around privacy. Fideslang aligns seamlessly with this objective, promising to elevate the overall effectiveness of the taxonomy for the industry.

What sets the privacy taxonomy project apart is its focus on creating a standardized language for privacy-related concepts. “Unlike other IAB Tech Lab taxonomies that may address different audience facets of digital advertising, the privacy taxonomy is uniquely tailored to the evolving landscape of data protection. By incorporating Fideslang, Tech Lab aims to set a new standard for how privacy information is conveyed across the industry,” said Anthony Katsur, CEO of IAB Tech Lab.

The privacy taxonomy project group will leverage this donation to accelerate the Task Force’s development of a standardized personal data taxonomy for adtech. The resulting privacy taxonomy will help adopters:

  1. Understand “what we have”, “where it is” & “why we use it.”: The taxonomy will provide a structured categorization of data, enabling organizations to gain a clear and standardized understanding of the data they possess. This categorization will facilitate data mapping, inventory cataloging, and data labeling to enhance data management practices and transparency. 
  2. Help Enforce Consent Requirements: The taxonomy will support the function of conveying and enforcing regulatory consent requirements with users. It also helps parties communicating requirements speak the same language, which will support  a greater level of consistency.
  3. Execute Privacy Requests: The taxonomy will enable organizations to effectively respond to privacy requests, such as Data Subject Requests (DSR). This common language will simplify the operational process of retrieving, modifying, or deleting personal data. This should increase automation in privacy flows.
  4. Audit Data Processing Practices: The privacy taxonomy will support the use case of reporting and auditing of business data processing practices. Businesses can use the taxonomy to describe their data processing conditions, ensuring adherence to internal and external data privacy regulations. With requests and replies sent via a common language, it becomes easier to enhance auditing of privacy practices.

Ethyca’s donation to the IAB Tech Lab marks a critical moment in the ongoing efforts of industry collaboration to enhance privacy practices. The Privacy Taxonomy Project will build on top of Fides Language to accelerate this important initiative and advance privacy, governance, and accountability for the digital advertising industry.


Jared Moscow Director of Product, Privacy & Addressability IAB Tech Lab