Postulate Fivaz (21.4498): Personalized advertising. Prohibition of advertising based on data collection and profiling.
The Federal Council is called upon to assess the impact of targeted advertising, based on the acquisition of data (personalized advertising), and to propose in a report an amendment to the law in order to prevent the use of such advertising to prohibit or heavily regulate.
The dominant business model of the big digitalization companies, especially Google and Facebook, is based on obtaining personal data, profiling and selling such information in order to target advertising.
Following the motto “If it’s free, you’re the product,” these companies fight for our attention and sell it to the highest bidder: The time we spend on Facebook is not spent on Google, and even less on other media.
Competition in this area is harmful in many ways. It is leading companies to develop algorithms that can extreme opinions and misleading information promote and fix the target groups in their thinking. These algorithms represent a Risk for health and for democracy and lead to more Discrimination based on race, gender, etc. In return, the tech giants very heavily fund websites that spread misleading information or serve violent groups by placing advertisements.
The previous solutions of social network providers do not work (so-called keyword blacklists).
This postulate calls on the Federal Council to study the effects of targeted advertising based on data collection and to propose in a report an amendment to the law to ban or strongly regulate the use of such advertising.
Statement of the Federal Council from 23.02.2022
At OFCOM report of November 17, 2021 “Intermediaries and communication platforms, impact on public communication and approaches to governance”. the problems raised in the postulate have already been discussed, particularly with regard to the use of algorithms and their lack of transparency, and the impact of targeted advertising on disinformation and hate speech (https://www.bakom.admin.ch/bakom/de/home/digital-und-internet/digitale-kommunikation/kommunikationsplattformen.html). Various studies commissioned by OFCOM conclude that the population is entitled to effective protection against illegal hate speech and disinformation, and that the Users’ rights better protected vis-à-vis intermediaries would have to be made. OFCOM’s report concludes that a wide discussion on the question of the social integration and governance of intermediaries is necessary in Switzerland, but also especially in the international context. The Federal Council has instructed DETEC (OFCOM) to give it By the end of 2022, a pronouncement paper setting out whether and, if so, how communications platforms should be regulated.
It should also be mentioned that the new Federal Data Protection Act of September 25, 2020 (BBl 2020 7639) improves transparency in the acquisition of personal data and strengthens the rights of private individuals.
For these reasons, the Federal Council is of the opinion that a new report on this issue would not provide any new insights and that the postulate has already been fulfilled, at least in part.