The latest Statement from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) on the Digital Services Package and Data Strategy may raise some eyebrows in the advertising industry. While the EDPB acknowledges that the legislative proposals “aim to facilitate the further use and sharing of (personal) data between more public and private parties inside ‘the data economy’, to support the use of specific technologies such as Big Data and AI and to regulate online platforms and gatekeepers”, the EDPB also has raised several concerns. For example, the EPDB does not consider the proposals to suitably protect individuals’ fundamental rights and freedoms and cites the proposals aimed at tackling behaviours within the online advertising sector as an area of concern.
While this cautious view may not come as a surprise to many, this clear call from the EDPB for the Digital Services Act to regulate online targeted advertising “more strictly”, while favouring “less intrusive forms of advertising that do not require any tracking of user interaction with content" will no doubt be cause for concern for major players in the sector. The EDPB goes on to urge the European co-legislature to “consider a phase-out leading to a prohibition of targeted advertising on the basis of pervasive tracking", as well as supporting a prohibition on the profiling of children.
While we are a long way away from seeing new European legislation agreed and coming into force, it is clear the EDPB plans to capitalise on these reforms in order to push forward its agenda and put an end to what it sees as intrusive practices in the advertising sector.