The European Commission today released a new rule Targeted political advertisements restrict the use of personal information of Internet users.
Organizations that use positioning and magnification technologies need to explain them clearly and in detail, and will be prohibited from using sensitive personal data without the individual’s explicit consent.
At the same time, political advertisements must be clearly labeled as such and include information such as who pays for them and how much.
“Elections cannot be a competition of opaque and opaque methods. People must know why they see an advertisement, who paid, how much, and what micro-targeting standards were used,” said Vera Choro, vice president of values and transparency baby.
“New technology should be a tool of liberation, not a tool of manipulation. This ambitious proposal will bring unprecedented transparency to political campaigns and limit opaque positioning technology.”
These rules apply not only to direct political advertising, but also to so-called problem-based advertising that may affect election or referendum results, legislative or regulatory procedures, or voting behavior.
Paid political advertisements must be clearly marked and provide the sponsor’s name (highlighted) and an easy-to-find transparency notice that includes the amount of advertising spent, the source of the funds used, and the link between the advertisement and the relevant advertisement election or referendum.
At the same time, the use of sensitive personal data (such as ethnic origin, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation) for micro-positioning is prohibited unless the user explicitly agrees.
And, for the first time, the advertisement must include the basis for describing the target person and the target population, the standards used, and the amplification tools or methods deployed.
Organizations that implement political goals and amplification will need to formulate and disclose internal policies regarding the use of such technologies.
The center-right EPP Group, the largest and oldest group in the European Parliament, welcomed the new regulations.
“Russia, China, and other authoritarian regimes spent more than $300 million in 33 countries to interfere in the democratic process. This trend is becoming more and more dangerous. Half of the cases are related to Russian hostilities in Europe,” it said.
“These cases include the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, the presidential elections in France and the United States, and actual support for the far-right and other radicals in Europe including France, Austria, Germany and Italy. Europe cannot and cannot allow this to happen. Again.”
These proposals now need to be adopted by the European Parliament and approved by individual member states, but are expected to take effect before the 2024 EU elections.