An elaborate system is in place designed to influence our behavior by taking advantage of our use of digital media. Social media sites collect your habits, delivering you and your network of friends and relationships to advertisers and marketers. You are a product, sold to corporations: food, credit, entertainment, alcohol, apparel, and even political campaigns. CDD closely tracks this industry, bring their activities to the attention of the public, the media, and policymakers.

 

  • Groups tell FTC: End all surveillance advertising & marketing to individuals under 18

    By: Jeff Chester | Nov 22 2022

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    Coalition of child advocacy, health, safety, privacy and consumer organization document how data-driven marketing undermines privacy and welfare of young people

    Children and teenagers experience widespread commercial surveillance practices to collect data used to target them with marketing. Targeted and personalized advertising remains the dominant business model for digital media, with the marketing and advertising industry identifying children and teens as a prime target. Minors are relentlessly pursued while, simultaneously, they are spending more time online than ever before. Children’s lives are filled with surveillance, involving the collection of vast amounts of personal data of online users.

    Date

    Monday, November 21, 2022
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  • Data-driven Health Marketing Surveillance in the U.S.

    By: Jeff Chester | Nov 21 2022

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    FTC Commercial Surveillance Filing from CDD focuses on how pharma & other health marketers target consumers, patients, prescribers

    “Acute Myeloid Lymphoma,” “ADHD,” “Brain Cancer,” “High Cholesterol,” “Lung Cancer,” “Overweight,” “Pregnancy,” “Rheumatoid Arthritis,” “Stroke,” and “Thyroid Cancer.” These are just a handful of the digitally targetable medical condition “audience segments” available to surveillance advertisers  While health and medical condition marketers—including pharmaceutical companies and drug store chains—may claim that such commercial data-driven marketing is “privacy-compliant,” in truth it reveals how vulnerable U.S.

    Date

    Monday, November 21, 2022
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  • Despite Flurry of New Safety Features, Social Media Platforms Still Not Doing Enough to Protect Children, CDD Report Finds

    By: Jeff Chester | Nov 16 2022

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    Government Needs to Step up its Efforts to Provide Meaningful and Effective Regulation

    Under intensifying pressure from Congress and the public, top social media platforms popular with young people – Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube – have launched dozens of new safety features for children and teens in the last year, according to a report from the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD). Researchers at CDD conducted an analysis of tech industry strategies to head off regulation in the wake of the 2021 Facebook whistleblower revelations and the rising tide of public criticism, Congressional hearings, and pressures from abroad.

    Date

    Wednesday, November 16, 2022
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  • It's Time for Smart Regulation of TV Election Advertising

    By: Jeff Chester | Nov 1 2022

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    Commercial Surveillance expands via the "Big" Screen in the Home

    Televisions now view and analyze us—the programs we watch, what shows we click on to consider or save, and the content reflected on the “glass” of our screens. On “smart” or connected TVs, streaming TV applications have been engineered to fully deliver the forces of commercial surveillance.

    Date

    Tuesday, November 1, 2022
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  • Regulating digital marketing of alcohol: challenges and opportunities

    By: Jeff Chester | Oct 14 2022

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    Discussion by Jeff Chester at the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance

    Alcohol Marketers are now big data companies.  They are also commercial surveillance marketing enterprises, which is how data driven digital marketing is increasingly described by regulators and critics.  Like many other global industries, alcohol marketing uses an ever expanding set of diverse and sophisticated online and offline techniques designed to identify and deeply influence its target audiences.  Alcoholic beverage companies have broadly adopted the business model and tactics perfected by Google, Meta/Facebook, and Amazon.

    Date

    Friday, October 14, 2022
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  • Surveillance Marketing 2.0

    By: Jeff Chester | Jun 30 2022

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    Considering Privacy Legislation in the context of contemporary digital data marketing practices

    Last week, the leading global advertisers, online platforms and data marketers gathered for the most important awards given by the ad industry—the “Cannes Lions.” Reviewing the winners and the “shortlist” of runners-up—competing in categories such as “Creative Data,” “Social and Influencer,” “Brand Experience & Activation,” “Creative Commerce” and “Mobile”—is essential to learn where the data-

    Date

    Thursday, June 30, 2022
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  • FTC Should tell Microsoft that it’s “Game Over” with its plans to buy Activision Blizzard

    By: Jeff Chester | Mar 22 2022

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    Deal reflects Big Tech move to grab more data for omnipresent tracking & targeting

    Microsoft is rapidly expanding its surveillance advertising complex—first acquiring AT&T’s powerful Xandr targeting system last December, and adding a few weeks later the online gaming and eSports giant Activision Blizzard.

    Date

    Tuesday, March 22, 2022
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  • FTC Should Examine Microsoft-Activision Deal, Consumer, Privacy, Labor, Repair Groups Say

    By: Jeff Chester | Mar 1 2022

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    Microsoft's further expansion into gaming, data gathering, digital marketing must trigger close scrutiny, inc. impacts on gamers, youth

    Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision-Blizzard raises serious red flags, Public Citizen, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Repair Association, the Communications Workers of America, and 11 additional groups said today in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

    Date

    Tuesday, March 1, 2022
    Read more
  • FTC Should Examine Microsoft-Activision Deal, Consumer, Privacy, Labor, Repair Groups Say

    By: Jeff Chester | Mar 1 2022

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    Microsoft's further expansion into gaming, data gathering, digital marketing must trigger close scrutiny, inc. impacts on gamers, youth

    Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision-Blizzard raises serious red flags, Public Citizen, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Repair Association, the Communications Workers of America, and 11 additional groups said today in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

    Date

    Tuesday, March 1, 2022
    Read more
  • EU/US Consumer Groups (TACD) Tell the White House US Should Not Undermine Online Protections

    Feb 3 2022

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    The European Union’s efforts to legislate digital markets, specifically with its Digital Markets Act (DMA), make them fairer and more open, and benefit consumers.

    See PDF of full letter below.

    Date

    Thursday, February 3, 2022
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  • CDD Tells FTC It's Time to Regulate Commercial Surveillance Marketing

    By: Jeff Chester | Jan 26 2022

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    Documents 25 years of failures by agency to rein in practices that have eviscerated privacy and consumer protection in the U.S. and globally
    Date

    Wednesday, January 26, 2022
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  • CDD 2007 Warning to FTC on Threats to Democracy, Privacy and Consumers from Surveillance Marketing

    By: Jeff Chester | Jan 20 2022

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    Jeff Chester presentation illustrates agency failures to ensure equitable digital media system

    Transcript

    Ehavioral Advertising: Tracking, Targeting & Technology, Federal Trade Commission, November 1, 2007

    Date

    Thursday, January 20, 2022
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  • CDD Supports the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act

    Jan 19 2022

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    Congresswomen Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) Introduce Bill to Ban Surveillance Advertising

    Washington, DC 1-18-2022

    Date

    Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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  • US PIRG & CDD Urge CFPB to Protect Consumers/Small Businesses in the "wild west" of Online Payments & Digital Platforms

    By: Jeff Chester | Dec 21 2021

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    "Surveillance" Marketing meets what Google calls "embedded finance" online

    [excerpt]

    Date

    Tuesday, December 21, 2021
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  • We Can’t Let the Surveillance Ad Industry Create the new Rules for Privacy

    By: Jeff Chester | Oct 17 2021

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    Time for the FTC to intervene as marketers create new ways to leverage our “identity” data as cookies “crumble”

    For decades, the U.S. has allowed private actors to basically create the rules regarding how our data is gathered and used online. A key reason that we do not have any real privacy for digital media is precisely because it has principally been online marketing interests that have shaped how the devices, platforms and applications we use ensnare us in the commercial surveillance complex.

    Date

    Sunday, October 17, 2021
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  • The Big Data Merger Gold Rush to Control Your “Identity” Information

    By: Jeff Chester | Sep 22 2021

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    Will the DoJ ensure that both competition and consumer protection in data markets are addressed?

    There is a digital data “gold rush” fever sweeping the data and marketing industry, as the quest to find ways to use data to determine a person’s “identity” for online marketing becomes paramount. This is triggered, in part, by the moves made by Google and others to replace “cookies” and other online identifiers with new, allegedly pro-privacy data-profiling methods to get the same results. We’ve addressed this privacy charade in other posts.

    Date

    Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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  • Who is Really “Pushing” Your Online Shopping Cart as You Buy Groceries? It’s Big Data, Machine Learning and Lots of Cash from Advertisers

    By: Jeff Chester | Aug 10 2021

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    The FTC and States Should Investigate “Grocery Tech”

    Online grocery shopping became a pandemic response necessity for those who could afford it, with revenues to exceed $100 billion in 2021. Leading supermarket chains such as Kroger, big box stores like Walmart, online specialist companies such as Instacart, and the ubiquitous Amazon, have all experienced greater demand from the public to have groceries ordered and then quickly delivered or available for pick up.

    Date

    Tuesday, August 10, 2021
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  • Coalition calls on FTC to protect civil rights and privacy in data-driven commerce

    Aug 4 2021

    CDD joins 23 other public interest, consumer advocacy, and civil rights groups in a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission to protect civil rights and privacy in the digital economy by initiating a new rulemaking, creating an Office of Civil Rights, and committing more resources to enforce against unfair and deceptive practices.

    Date

    Wednesday, August 4, 2021
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  • Surveillance Marketing Industry Claims Future of an “Open Internet” Requires Massive Data Gathering

    By: Jeff Chester | Jul 13 2021

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    New ways to take advantage of your “identity” raise privacy, consumer-protection and competition issues

    The Trade Desk is a leading AdTech company, providing data-driven digital advertising services to major brands and agencies.

    Date

    Tuesday, July 13, 2021
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  • Against surveillance-based advertising

    Jun 23 2021

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    CDD joins an international coalition of more than 50 NGOs and scholars in a call for a surveillance-based advertising ban in its Digital Services Act and for the U.S. to enact a federal digital privacy and civil rights law

    International coalition calls for action against surveillance-based advertising

     

    Date

    Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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