European Ombudsman surveillance

It’s time for the European Commission to dismantle disinformation

As the EU is launching a legislative proposal on the transparency of sponsored political content, Access Now, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, and EDRi are laying out a set of recommendations to help the European Commission effectively minimize the negative impact of disinformation sweeping Europe. 

“Europe already has many of the rules needed to quash the spread of dangerous disinformation,” said Eliška Pírková, Europe Policy Analyst at Access Now. “They simply need proper enforcement. We also have the resources and experience to draft new legislation that will fill the gaps — starting with targeted advertising.”

Targeted advertising is the core of disseminating disinformation, and the European Commission must regulate its distribution and targeting techniques. Recommendations include:

  • Phasing out advertising based on personal data, including tracking and other inferred data; 
  • Establishing minimum safeguards for default settings that require an “opt-in;”
  • Establishing meaningful and qualitative transparency obligations;
  • Enforcing the GDPR and adoption of a strengthened ePrivacy Regulation;
  • Ensuring that online platforms properly disclose that a user is or will be subjected to algorithmic decision making;
  • Supporting people against the power imbalance between online platforms and the people who use them; and 
  • Limiting targeting methods to the minimum. 

Access Now, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, and EDRi will continue to influence the European Union’s approach to tackling disinformation, and will be launching an in-depth report covering these issues in December, 2021.

Read the full paper.