On 22 October, Ecommerce Europe published a Retail Industry Statement on targeted advertisement together with EuroCommerce and Independent Retail Europe. In light of the developments in the negotiations on the Digital Services Act (DSA), the statement aims to provide the perspective of the retail sector contributing to the ongoing discussion on targeted advertising. While supporting the need for increased transparency in online advertising, the signatories raised concerns over the proposal for a ban on targeted advertising, advocated by several Members of the European Parliament.
The joint paper stressed the importance of targeted advertising for the sales of goods, especially for SMEs and called on the co-legislators to be cautious about the proposed ban or severe restrictions. Therefore, the joint paper outlines in detail several areas of concern of the co-signatories, namely:
- The proposed ban on or severe restriction of targeted advertisement, including an opt-in requirement, goes beyond the objective and scope of the DSA proposal. The DSA is not intended to revise existing data protection rules.
- A ban on targeted advertisements would have far-reaching negative consequences for the competitiveness of SMEs, and thus the opposite effect of what some have argued.
- The legal ground required for the processing of personal data for targeted advertising is already sufficiently regulated in Article 6 of the GDPR and Article 5.3 of the e-Privacy Directive. The DSA should be aligned with the GDPR and e-Privacy Directive and not repeat already existing rules.
- Targeted online advertisements are already regulated by other relevant legislation, such as Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD), the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD), the ePrivacy Directive and the Directive on Misleading and Comparative Advertising (MCAD).
- Rather than adding new rules on online advertising to another piece of legislation in an already complex legislative landscape, the focus should be on ensuring that existing rules are properly executed and enforced at Member State level.
You can read the full joint statement here.