Supported by public interest organizations, it could reform the technology industry
Senator Cory Booker, along with Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky and Anna G Eshoo, has introduced the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act. It prohibits the use of personal data by advertising networks and facilitators from targeting advertisements to users. The exception has been made to allow broad location-based targeting.
In her statement, Eshoo described the importance of the law. "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 fuels misinformation, discrimination, voter suppression, privacy abuses, and other harms. The surveillance advertising business model is broken," it read.
Data about the individual or connected devices such as contents of communications, browsing history, online activity and customer lists cannot be used by advertisers and ad platforms for targeted 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. However, advertisements carefully tailored to online content, as with contextual advertising, would be permitted.
The bill provides authority to the Federal Trade Commission and individual state attorney generals 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.
The law is supported by public interest organizations, academics, and companies with privacy-preserving business models such as Proton and DuckDuckGo.