Privacy Bill Seeks to Ban ‘Surveillance Advertising’, Let Users Sue If Violated
By Alexa Heah, 20 Jan 2022
A new privacy bill, titled the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, was recently introduced in the House and Senate, seeking to clamp down on marketers using users’ personal information to flood them with targeted advertisements.
According to TechCrunch, the bill would limit the way digital companies, such as Google and Facebook, featured advertisements to users, and would completely prohibit the use of personal data.
Picking specific users to advertise to based on “protected class information,” which includes gender, race, and religion, and “personal data purchased from data brokers” would no longer be permitted.
Though the bill does note that companies will still be able to target users based on their general location data and “contextual advertising,” such as the content of the website they’re interacting with.
As per Insider, users will be allowed to sue digital platforms for violating the terms, with up to US$5,000 in compensation per violation.
“The ‘surveillance advertising’ business model is premised on the unseemly collection and hoarding of personal data to enable [advertising] targeting,” said Representative Anna Eshoo.
“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,” she added.
Senator Cory Booker echoed Eshoo’s claims, saying that targeted advertising was “predatory and invasive,” and that the model contributed to the spread of misinformation and extremism on social media.
Take a look at the bill in detail below.
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