EU’s data watchdog calls for total ban on tracking ads

It urged the lawmakers to consider a phase-out leading to a prohibition of targeted advertising on the basis of pervasive tracking while the "profiling of children should overall be prohibited".

London: The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has warned that an upcoming EU digital law can put individuals’ fundamental rights and freedoms at risk, calling on legislators to implement stricter regulations on targeted advertising by the big internet and social media firms.

In a statement, the EDPB said that online targeted advertising should be regulated more strictly in the Digital Services Act (DSA) in favour of less intrusive forms of advertising that do not require any tracking of users’ data.

It urged the lawmakers to consider a phase-out leading to a prohibition of targeted advertising on the basis of pervasive tracking while the “profiling of children should overall be prohibited”.

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The new 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 combined effect of the adoption and implementation of the proposals will therefore significantly impact the protection of the fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data,” the board stated.

The EU’s data protection adviser said that, without further amendments, the proposals will negatively impact the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and lead to significant legal uncertainty that would undermine both the existing and future legal framework.

The regulation on a European approach for Artificial Intelligence (AIR) currently allows for the use of real-time remote biometric identification systems in publicly accessible spaces for the purpose of law enforcement in certain cases.

According to EDPB, the AIR should include a ban on any use of AI for an automated recognition of human features in publicly accessible spaces – such as of faces but also of gait, fingerprints, DNA, voice, keystrokes and other biometric or behavioural signals — in any context.

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