These are tough times for targeting. Recently, the European Parliament approved the initial version of the bill, which, among other things, is designed to prohibit IT companies from collecting a number of data about users. We briefly talk about the law.

The new law is called The Digital Services Act (aka DSA or the Digital Services Act). It covers almost all digital content: from websites and social networks to mobile applications and digital storages.

The basic idea behind the law is that what is illegal in the real world should be illegal online. Officials promoting the law assure that it will contribute to the creation of a secure digital space.

The essence of DSA:

  • a) to give ordinary users the opportunity to report cases of incitement to hatred, disinformation, the appearance of counterfeit;
  • b) oblige the services to respond to this under the threat of high fines.

In fact, it turns out that the main task of the law is to make social platforms and digital stores responsible for the content that is sold and distributed on their pages.

Plus, the DSA sets new rules for interaction with IT companies. According to them, the services will have to remove the content that regulators recognize as illegal or disinforming on demand and in a short time.

But the bill also has a second task — to limit the possibilities of targeted advertising. This will be achieved by a set of measures.

  • First. It is necessary to inform the user what information will be collected about him. Next, he needs to be told in the most intelligible form how this data will be monetized. After that, the user should have a choice whether to give their data or not. In the event that he does not agree, he should be provided with other options for accessing the service (including advertising without tracking).
  • Second. It is prohibited to collect data about minors for the purpose of subsequent advertising. Targeting of individuals by categories such as race, gender and religion is also prohibited. Officials do not want advertisers to have the opportunity to work through advertising with vulnerable groups of citizens.
  • The third. Online platforms need to combat questionable marketing practices. We are talking about the so—called “dark patterns”, which include techniques in the design of advertising, which push the user to buy or download those programs that he was not going to purchase or download (the penalty for violation is up to 6% of the global turnover).

The text was approved last Thursday. An absolute majority of the parliament voted for him — 530 people (78 opposed, another 80 abstained).

Important: in order for the bill to become law, it must be adopted by the European Council, the highest political body of the European Union. The discussion of the DSA in the Council will start on January 31, 2022.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Democratic Party has introduced a law that prohibits advertising targeting almost entirely.