Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation issues call for evidence on its Review of online targeting

The Centre says that the purpose of the review is to analyse the use of online targeting approaches and to make practical recommendations to the Government, industry and civil society for how online targeting can be conducted and governed in a way that facilitates the benefits and minimises the risks it presents.

The Centre’s definition of online targeting centres around the customisation of products and services online (including content, services standards and prices) based on data about individual users. Instances of online targeting can include online advertising and personalised social media feeds and recommendations.

In its Review, the Centre is considering how targeting approaches can undermine or reinforce the concept of autonomy, i.e. our ability to make choices freely, based on information that is as full and complete as reasonably possible. It is also focusing on whether the impacts of online targeting practices might be experienced more profoundly by vulnerable people, and whether it might contribute to a reduction in the reliability of news and advertising content we see online. Finally, the Centre is looking at the data and mechanisms involved in online targeting and how these impact privacy and data protection principles.

The Centre says it is particularly interested in hearing from a broad range of stakeholders working in or specialising in online targeting. These include, but are not limited to: online platforms and technology companies; start-ups, providers, developers and purchasers of targeting and personalisation solutions; digital marketing professionals; ad-tech companies; data analytics providers and consultants; data brokers; civil society organisations focused on consumer rights, digital rights, privacy and data protection, and vulnerable people; academics, research and policy organisations; regulators and government departments; international standards, regulation, and governance bodies. It also wants to hear from members of the public who have been personally impacted by online targeting. To access the policy paper and call for evidence, click here.