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US lawmakers introduce privacy bill against using personal data for targeted advertising

US lawmakers introduce privacy bill against using personal data for targeted advertising

22.01.2022 | Shifa Qureshi | Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim U., IN JANUARY 20, 2022 04:04:13 AM | 332

Senator Cory Booker along with Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky and Anna G. Eshoo Tuesday introduced the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act to prohibit the use of personal data by advertising networks and facilitators for targeted advertising, except for broad location targeting to a known place, such as a municipality.

Data about the individual or connected devices such as contents of communications, browsing history, online activity and customer lists can’t be used by advertisers and ad platforms for targetted advertising under the new bill.  Advertisers are also prohibited from targeting advertising based on protected class information, such as race, gender, and religion, as well as personal data purchased from data brokers, according to the bill. Advertisements that are carefully tailored to online content, as with contextual advertising, would be permitted. A summary of the bill criticizes targeted advertising for its “unseemly data collection and tracking,” which fosters “disinformation, discrimination, and privacy abuses.”

The bill gives authority to the Federal Trade Commission and individual state attorneys general to enforce the new ad targeting regulations. Additionally, it enables individual users to sue platforms (such as Meta and Google) for violating the law, awarding up to $5,000 in damages for each violation.

Rep. Eshoo described the importance of the law in her statement:

The ‘surveillance advertising’ business model is premised on the unseemly collection and hoarding of personal data to enable ad targeting. This pernicious practice allows online platforms to chase user engagement at great cost to our society, and it fuels disinformation, discrimination, voter suppression, privacy abuses, and so many other harms. The surveillance advertising business model is broken.

The law is supported by public interest organizations, academics, and companies with privacy-preserving business models such as Proton and DuckDuckGo.

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