European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski Thursday called for additional restrictions on political advertising to be included in a group of new legislation adopted by the European Commission.
The legislation concerned is the “Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the transparency and targeting of political advertisements.” Wiewiórowski’s opinion explained that, while the objective of the legislative changes is to promote democracy in the EU, he is concerned that the provisions do not go far enough to quell the effect of targeted political advertising on free and frank democratic elections.
Wiewiórowski called for increased legislative protections against such advertising to include a prohibition on political microtargeting, restricting data that political advertisers can process, and banning the use of pervasive tracking to inform targeted advertising.
Wiewiórowski’s opinion noted:
The existing business models behind many online services have contributed to increased political and ideological [polarization], disinformation and manipulation. Targeted advertising and amplification mechanisms have been instrumental in provoking such harms. [Wiewiórowski] considers his recommendations about online targeted advertising are even more valid in the political context, having in mind its potential negative impact on the integrity of democracy and its representative institutions.
Several rights under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights were noted to be engaged in the issue of targeted advertising. These include the right to protection of personal data (Article 8), the right to respect for privacy (Article 7) and the right to freedom of information (Article 11).
Wiewiórowski highlighted that the new legislation is to complement the General Data Protection Regulation.