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Privacy Focused tech firms are calling out for putting a ban on targeted advertising

Advertising companies have always faced a lot of criticism from privacy focused tech houses. Lately some of these tech firms are once again raising their voices against advertisers involved in targeted advertising. According to these companies such as DuckDuckGo and Vivaldi, targeted advertising is a breach of privacy and could be a threat to users personal data as well.

The letter released by these tech firms in light of their disagreement with surveillance based advertisers, it said that they are not totally against advertising methods instead they are not satisfied with the rules of targeting ads to specific audience based on their personal data.

The letter was sent to the law makers of the United States as well as to the European Union and tried to convince to make new laws to secure user privacy and protect them from their data being used against them. They even talked about that targeted advertisement is not the only way to generate profit.

The letter has been signed by several companies including the Proton Technologies as well. These tech agencies work by prioritizing user data protection. Back in 2006, Mojeek, an independent search browser also highlighted its efforts for not using targeted advertising methods to make money. These tech companies works on the basis of Contextual methods. The difference between targeted advertising and contextual advertising is that unlike targeted methods which works by collecting user data, their browsing records, geographical location , contextual advertising doesn’t use any of this, instead if a user will search any particular term, only then the product will be advertised.

The main reason behind writing this letter was related to the report that was released recently . The report was released by the Consumer Council of Norwegian that revealed that advertising companies globally use the private data of users that was collected through their browsing history. As a result, Cyber security firm, Mnemonic was commissioned to look into this matter in order to analyze the ten popular smartphone applications who took part in collecting user’s data.
Later it was disclosed that these applications consisting of Grindr and Period Tracker Clue, forwarded the collected information with almost 135 third parties, linked with advertising sector and user profiling. Not only this, but the social media giant Facebook and tech giant Google were also among those who received user information from these applications. Out of 10 applications, 9 of them shared data with Facebook, while 8 of them shared the data with Google’s DoubleClick, an advertising service provider.

As a response to the released report, more than 55 different organization came in support and forced the lawmakers to approve Digital Services Act that can ensure user protection while setting guidelines for the upcoming polices as well. Lawmakers in the United States were also asked to form new rules to ensure privacy and protection for their people.

The letter talked about that invading the personal information of a user and using it is not the only way to make profit. There are many ways through which a business can prosper.


Illustration: Vectorjuice / Freepik

Read next: Research Reveals Social Media Apps Know Far Too Much About You

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