In response to today's publication of the draft Digital Services Act, Nienke Palstra, Senior Campaigner in the Digital Threats team at Global Witness said:

“We are disappointed the European Commission’s newly proposed Digital Services Act fails to establish any limits on the controversial practice of micro-targeting.

“European democracies and citizens’ rights are under threat from a digital Wild West in which ad targeting practices can violate people’s privacy, polarise communities and even suppress votes.

“With several important European elections on the horizon in 2021 it is vital that targeted political advertising is reined in by the EU as a matter of urgency. Too much is at stake to leave it to the platforms who have demonstrated time and again that they have neither the incentive nor the ability to effectively self-regulate.

“The ad hoc measures implemented by platforms during the US Presidential election make it clear that it is for governments, not private companies to secure the integrity of our democracy.

“Facing down the largest and most well financed lobby effort Brussels has ever seen will require courage, conviction, and ambition - but the EU will have failed before it has even begun if it allows the micro-targeting of citizens by Big Tech to continue unabated.”