Two Bills Introduced to Restrict Microtargeting of Political Ads

May 27, 2020

Members of Congress have introduced two bills to restrict the microtargeting of online political advertisements. EPIC supports both bills. The Banning Microtargeted Political Ads Act, sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18), would prohibit online platforms from targeting ads at users on the basis of their personal data. “This is an important step forward in protecting Americans’ privacy and in protecting our democratic institutions,” said Caitriona Fitzgerald, EPIC Interim Associate Director and Policy Director. The Protecting Democracy from Disinformation Act would restrict microtargeting of political ads based on demographic characteristics and personal data collected online. “This bill will help ensure that the democratic process isn’t distorted by privacy-invasive and discriminatory targeting of political ads,” said John Davisson, EPIC Counsel. The bill is sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (RI-1) and co-sponsored by Reps. Sean Casten (IL-6), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Jahana Hayes (CT-5), Henry Johnson (GA-4), and Stephen Lynch (MA-8). Both bills would allow consumers to sue platforms that engage in illegal microtargeting. EPIC’s report Grading on a Curve: Privacy Legislation in the 116th Congress sets out the key elements of a modern privacy law.

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