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USA: Representatives introduce companion bill on targeted advertising

On September 18, 2023, U.S. Representative Anna G. Eshoo announced that, along with fellow U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, the introduction of bill HR5534 to prohibit targeted advertising by advertisers and advertising facilitators, and for other purposes, also known as the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act of 2023. The bill is a companion bill to bill S2833, which was introduced on September 19, 2023.

Scope

In particular, the bill would apply to advertisers and advertising facilitators. The bill defines advertising facilitators as persons who are paid by advertisers to disseminate advertisements to individuals or connected devices and who collect, or process personal information related to advertising.

However, the bill excludes from its scope natural persons engaged in minimal commercial activity.

Obligations

More specifically, the bill would prohibit an advertiser or an advertising facilitator from targeting the dissemination of an advertisement or enabling an advertiser or third party to target the dissemination of an advertisement by providing:

  • a list of individuals or connected devices;  
  • contact information of an individual;
  • a unique identifier that may be used to identify an individual or a connected device; or
  • other personal information that can be used to identify an individual or a connected device.

Eshoo noted that the bill would ban advertisers from targeting advertisements based on protected demographic information such as race, gender, and religion. However, Eshoo clarified that the bill would allow certain types of contextual-based advertisements that reflect a user's content engagement and broad location.

You can read the press release here, the bill here, and track its progress here.