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International coalition joins the call to ban ‘surveillance advertising’

An international coalition of consumer protection, digital and civil rights organizations and data protection experts has added its voice to growing calls for a ban on what’s been billed as “surveillance-based advertising.” The objection is to a form of digital advertising that re…

  • Posted on 31st Aug, 2021 08:57 AM
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International coalition joins the call to ban ‘surveillance advertising’ Image

An international coalition of consumer protection, digital and civil rights organizations and data protection experts has added its voice to growing calls for a ban on what’s been billed as “surveillance-based advertising.”

The objection is to a form of digital advertising that relies upon a massive apparatus of background data processing that sucks in information about individuals as they browse and use services to create profiles, which are then used to determine which ads to serve (via multiparticipant processes like the high-speed auctions known as real-time bidding).

The EU’s lead data protection supervisor previously called for a ban on targeted advertising that relies upon pervasive tracking — warning over a multitude of associated rights risks.

Last fall the EU parliament also urged tighter rules on behavioral ads.

Back in March, a U.S. coalition of privacy, consumer, competition and civil rights groups also took collective aim at microtargeting. So pressure is growing on lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic to tackle exploitative adtech as consensus builds over the damage associated with mass-surveillance-based manipulation.

At the same time, momentum is clearly building for pro-privacy consumer tech and services — showing the rising store being placed by users and innovators on business models that respect people’s data.

The growing uptake of such services underlines how alternative, rights-respecting digital business models are not only possible (and accessible, with many freemium offerings) but increasingly popular.

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