Update on the Belgian ruling on IAB Europe’s TCF

Julie Rubash, Chief Privacy Counsel
September 8, 2022
TCF update

On Wednesday, September 7, 2022, the Belgian Market Court issued a new judgment regarding the IAB Europe’s appeal of the Belgian data protection authority’s decision on the legality of the TCF. 

They’ve referred legal questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a preliminary ruling. In summary, these are:

  • Does the TC String constitute personal data, especially if combined with an IP address?
  • Is the IAB Europe considered to be a joint data controller if it does not have access to the personal data processed by the publishers and vendors utilizing the TCF?

Impact on timeline for implementing changes to the TCF

The Belgian DPA has not yet indicated whether they will issue a response to the IAB Europe’s action plan next week, as expected. That timeline may shift, in light of this development, as the above legal questions referred to the CJEU are fundamental to the question of the legality of the TCF under GDPR. The IAB Europe’s appeal of the decision is suspended pending the CJEU’s response to these legal questions.

The timing for the CJEU’s response to the Market Court’s questions is also unknown, but the IAB Europe has said that it does not expect a final decision “until 2023 or even 2024.”

We will update this post with new information as we receive it. 


  • Belgian DPA press release on preliminary questions to the CJEU (7 Sept 2022)
  • Text of the Belgian Market Court judgment (7 Sept 2022)
  • IAB Europe statement on the Belgian Market Court referral of TCF ruling to CJEU (7 Sept 2022)
  • Sourcepoint FAQ on the Belgian DPA’s decision on the IAB’s TCF (Updated 7 Sept 2022)

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