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Big Tech ‘Making Billions’ Off Surveillance Advertising

A global coalition of nearly 40 groups launched a campaign to ban the practice of tracking and profiling people, then microtargeting ads at them based on their behavioral history, relationships and identity.

A global coalition of more than three dozen groups on Monday launched a campaign to ban surveillance advertising, which the leaders of the effort described as “the extractive profit model underlying so many of Big Tech’s worst behaviors.”

“Surveillance advertising — the core profit-driver for gatekeepers like Facebook and Google, as well as adtech middlemen — is the practice of extensively tracking and profiling individuals and groups, and then microtargeting ads at them based on their behavioral history, relationships, and identity” the coalition — co-organized by Accountable Tech and the American Economic Liberties Project — said in a joint statement.

“These dominant firms curate the content each person sees on their platforms using those dossiers — not just the ads, but newsfeeds, recommendations, trends and so forth — to keep each user hooked, so they can be served more ads and mined for more data,” added the coalition — which also includes Demand Progress, People’s Action and Public Citizen.