Protonmail, DuckDuckGo, privacy coalition call for ban on surveillance-based ads – Rappler

A group of tech companies on Wednesday, July 7, published a letter calling for the ban of surveillance-based or targeted advertising.
The 14-member group is headlined by alternative, privacy-focused tech platforms including the browser Vivaldi, search engine DuckDuckGo, and email service Protonmail.
The letter, addressed to EU, US, UK and Australian regulators, said surveillance-based advertising is “detrimental to the business landscape” in addition to the privacy issues it causes users.
The letter explained:
“In the surveillance-based advertising model, a few actors can obtain competitive advantages by collecting data from across websites and services and dominant platform actors can abuse their positions by giving preference to their own services.
These practices seriously undermine competition and take revenue away from content creators. Anti-competitive behavior and effects serve to entrench dominant actors’ positions while complex supply chains and ineffective technologies lead to lost revenues for advertisers and publishers.”
While the letter acknowledges that advertising itself isn’t a problem, and that it’s an important source of revenue for content creators and publishers, the economic benefit “does not justify the massive commercial surveillance systems set up in attempts to ‘show the right ad to the right people.'”
“Other forms of advertising technologies exist, which do not depend on spying on consumers, and alternative models can be implemented without significantly affecting revenue. On the contrary – and that we can attest to – businesses can thrive without privacy-invasive practices,” it added.
The letter follows a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council on June 23 calling on EU and US legislators to consider a ban on the surveillance-based ads.
The 11 other companies signing the letter are Fastmail, ConvaVentures, Tutao, Disconnect Inc, Mojeek, Ecosia, Startpage & Startmail, Nextcloud, Kobler, Strossle International, and Mailfence. –
Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.


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