Surveillance advertising is the root of Big Tech monopoly power. Ban it.

January 27, 2022

Digital rights group Fight for the Future calls on the FTC to act now on banning surveillance advertising’s data abuse.

This week, Fight for the Future submitted a comment to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in support of Accountable Tech’s petition to ban surveillance advertising. Surveillance advertising is fueled by mass data collection that’s nearly unavoidable for the general public. Corporations like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have built financial empires by harvesting individuals’ personal data, including that of children and people who never agreed to the companies’ terms of use. Big Tech uses this data to maximize ad sales by targeting highly specific groups of people, regardless of the human cost of the business model. 

Big Tech’s market dominance is rooted in the scale of personal data they have collected, and its data practices enable it to become more entrenched every day. This business model has eroded civil liberties, endangered public health, exacerbated discrimination, and undermined human rights around the world. In the longterm, we need prohibitions on all kinds of surveillance and algorithmic discrimination, but banning surveillance advertising would be a historic step forward in the fight against Big Tech’s data abuse.

Erica Darragh (she/her), Campaigner at  Fight for the Future issued the following statement:

“It has become abundantly clear that Big Tech uses surveillance advertising to weaponize user data for profit, despite knowing the human and societal cost of those choices. This business model is an existential threat to human rights, public health, civil rights, and democracy. The FTC has the authority to impose regulations that begin to address Big Tech’s dangerous business model while Congress negotiates a broader legislative response, and we urge the agency to act on this petition and ban surveillance advertising before it’s too late.”