Statements
2023

Accountable Tech Applauds the Reintroduction of the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2023
Contact: press@accountabletech.org

 

Sen. Booker, Sen. Wyden, Rep. Eshoo, and Rep. Schakowsky reintroduced legislation on Monday to ban surveillance advertising, continuing a years-long push from Accountable Tech to upend Big Tech’s toxic business model

Accountable Tech Executive Director and Co-Founder Nicole Gill issued the following statement on today’s reintroduction of the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act (BSAA):

“The endless collection of personal data to micro-target ads is the very core of Big Tech’s toxic business model and a powerful driving force behind the rise of extremism and misinformation, in addition to a myriad other societal harms. The industry’s incentive to engage in massive data collection and retention in pursuit of surveillance advertising has resulted in record profits for Big Tech, but comes at great cost to our personal privacy, security and the health of our democracy. The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act will not only protect consumers from this exploitative business practice, but also mitigate Big Tech’s unchecked harms as we face a growing environment of online manipulation and disinformation. We thank Reps. Eshoo and Schakowsky, and Sens. Wyden and Booker for their leadership, and call on Congress to advance this legislation with urgency.”

To support the legislation, Accountable Tech is launching a petition alongside advocacy partners to urge Congress to pass the re-introduced BSAA. Accountable Tech has long worked to ban surveillance advertising, which has included key developments including:

  • March 2021: Accountable Tech launched a transatlantic coalition of 50+ civil society groups to fight to ban surveillance advertising, including by highlighting the harms of surveillance advertising.
  • April 2021: campaign tied to Apple’s iPhone software update, encouraging #EveryoneOptOut of cross-app tracking to curtail Big Tech’s mass-monetization of personal user data.

  • July 2021: Accountable Tech commissioned a poll that found 81% of Americans support banning companies from collecting people’s personal data and using it to target them with ads.

  • September 2021: Accountable Tech filed a rulemaking petition to the Federal Trade Commission to ban surveillance advertising as an “unfair method of competition.”

  • January 2022: Accountable Tech received dozens of public comments in favor of its FTC rulemaking petition to ban surveillance advertising.

  • August 2022: FTC initiated the rulemaking proceeding to address “commercial surveillance” and data security, extensively citing Accountable Tech’s petition in the official notice.
  • February 2023: After advocacy from Accountable Tech and partners, President Joe Biden again called on Congress “to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online” and “ban targeted advertising to children” in his State of the Union Address, reiterating his support from the previous year.

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