Blog piece by Federica Detomas
Prior to working at EDAA as an intern, I graduated in Human Rights and International Relations, and completed an internship at the European Parliament. I have been working here for a couple of weeks now and I am already experiencing firsthand the fundamental relevance of data privacy in digital advertising. As the newest addition to the team, I am taking on a great variety of very interesting tasks and getting myself right up to speed with several incredibly fast-paced topics concerning digital advertising and data privacy.
During my experience at the European Parliament, I became familiar with some of the challenges of digital advertising. One of the Parliamentary committees that I was following was the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (INGE). That committee was tackling political advertising; however, it is clear to see that there is a rising concern towards transparency and user trust, which is applicable to commercial advertising as well. At the European Parliament level, the discussion on the Digital Services Act – DSA – is being led by the IMCO committee (Internal Market and Consumer Protection). The DSA will cover a series of topics in relation to the online environment, digital services, platforms, and technologies. One of the most poignant issues raised in relation to EDAA’s activities is that of transparent advertising requirements. The fact that EDAA has been working on these issues for a long time and has developed a deep expertise in this area fueled by consumer-facing initiatives and an abundance of research, makes its work especially prevalent in the DSA context. Speaking of which, there is a very handy fact sheet that EDAA put together on this very topic, that might pique your interest.
Moreover, the ongoing health crisis has changed our lives drastically overnight. People have been forced to work, maintain social relationships, and conduct most of the activities they used to carry out physically, online. The concerns of users about data privacy in online advertising have therefore been amplified. Therefore, the continuation of the work that EDAA has been carrying out for nearly a decade, most notably through the YourOnlineChoices.eu platform, and the AdChoices Icon, is now more critical than ever. Providing users with choices that enable them to tailor their online ad experience while at the same time enhancing the transparency of data-driven advertising practices is beneficial to all parties involved – internet users, advertisers, and websites. EDAA works hard to build trust with online audiences through its daily activities. Personally, being able to contribute to such work is a source of pride.
In just a few months, on 15 November, EDAA will hold its fifth Summit – aptly named Choices for a better future. The main theme will revolve around the choices I mentioned earlier, but in a broader sense. It will include both industry practitioners and regulators, not only users, and how the decisions taken today will impact the future of the online advertising ecosystem. Particularly during this uncertain period, being part of the team organising this event might be a challenge, but at the same time I am sure it will be rewarding. Whether an expert in the field or layperson, when it comes to digital advertising, data privacy and consumer empowerment, the 2021 EDAA Summit caters to all. Not only that, but for the first time it is being organised as a hybrid event, so there is always the possibility to participate from the comfort of your own workspace. As long as you register, of course.
I have great expectations from this experience. I am eager to contribute, grow and learn more about this field that is becoming increasingly critical in modern society.