Background of the Complaint
On November 16, 2023, privacy organization Noyb filed a complaint with the European privacy watchdog against the European Commission.
This action stemmed from advertisements promoting support for client-side scanning, a technology Brussels aims to use for monitoring the chat messages of all citizens.
The core of the complaint focuses on the Commission’s use of microtargeting to display these ads on a certain platform, which Noyb argues violates laws and undermines democratic procedures among EU institutions.
The Discovery by Tech Expert Danny Mekic
Tech expert Danny Mekic1 recently uncovered that the European Commission conducted an advertising campaign on the aforementioned platform. This campaign, using microtargeting, specifically targeted individuals in countries like the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Slovenia, Portugal, and the Czech Republic.
Notably, these are the countries that did not agree with the controversial proposal. The Digital Services Act (DSA), which contains provisions on online advertisements, explicitly prohibits the use of sensitive personal data for targeted advertising. Ironically, the European Commission, which proposed the DSA, is also responsible for ensuring large platforms’ compliance with it.
Allegations of Violating GDPR and the DSA
Noyb argues that this campaign not only violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) but also the DSA. According to them, the campaign employed categories of data protected under the GDPR, such as political opinions and religious beliefs, for microtargeting purposes. Furthermore, the campaign was flagged as misleading on the platform itself. Besides the complaint against the European Commission,
Noyb is also considering filing a complaint against the platform for allowing the use of sensitive data for illegal political microtargeting.
- https://www.security.nl/posting/815736/%27Brussel+gebruikte+microtargeting+in+campagne+voor+client-side+scanning%27 ↩︎