The Hill: New coalition launches against ‘surveillance advertising’

March 22, 2021 Media

Thirty-plus privacy, consumer and anti-monopoly groups are coming together to stop big tech platforms from tracking and categorizing individuals for the purpose of narrowly targeting advertising.

The broad coalition, launched Monday, is calling for a ban on the practice they term “surveillance advertising.”

The coalition argues that the data collection and advertising practices of the biggest platforms — specifically Facebook and Google, which are the two dominant players in the digital advertising space — increase the spread of misinformation, hate speech and extremism by incentivizing the companies to try to keep users engaged and online as much as possible.

Morgan Harper, a senior adviser at the American Economic Liberties Project, told The Hill that surveillance advertising also boosts the market power of the Silicon Valley giants.

“To us, this helps them to entrench their market power that is already quite intense,” she said in an interview. “The amount of data that they’re collecting enables them to have a really detailed sense of the online activity of various individuals, and then [use] that to fuel an ad business … that helps to entrench this power and then also push out competition.”