Statements
2022

Statement on the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act

For Immediate Release
January 18, 2022
Contact: press@accountabletech.org

 

Accountable Tech co-founder Jesse Lehrich released the following statement Tuesday in response to the introduction of the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, introduced by Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ):

“Surveillance advertising has eroded our consensus reality and pushed democracy to the brink. The global information ecosystem has been hijacked by tech giants that manipulate each user and warp public discourse in service of this toxic business model, amplifying extreme content to maximize engagement and profits. Big Tech will continue stoking discrimination, division, and delusion until we upend this perverse incentive structure – which is exactly what Reps. Eshoo and Schakowsky, and Sen. Booker’s Banning Surveillance Advertising Act would do. Accountable Tech is grateful for their bold leadership, and proud to support this landmark legislation.”

Background:

  • Accountable Tech launched a multi-pronged campaign to Ban Surveillance Advertising last year, helping to build a transatlantic coalition of over 50 advocacy groups fighting to end this extractive business model. The coalition’s diversity reflects the breadth of societal harms inherent to surveillance advertising — from accelerating disinformation, discrimination, and threats to vulnerable communities, to undermining privacy rights, autonomy, and competition.

  • This bicameral legislation represents a massive step forward as the campaign to end the abuses of the surveillance advertising business model gains steam on both sides of the Atlantic. It comes on the eve of critical votes in the European Parliament, with MEPs set to consider plenary amendments that would further curtail surveillance advertising as they advance the historic Digital Services Act.

  • In addition to these critical legislative efforts underway in both Washington and Brussels, AT submitted a sweeping rulemaking petition urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit surveillance advertising as an ‘unfair method of competition,’ which is currently open for public comment.

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