The Regulation of Online Political Micro-Targeting in Europe

Internet Policy Review, 8(4), 2019

20 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2020

See all articles by Tom Dobber

Tom Dobber

University of Amsterdam

Ronan Ó Fathaigh

University of Amsterdam - Institute for Information Law (IViR)

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius

iHub, Radboud University, Nijmegen

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

In this paper, we examine how online political micro-targeting is regulated in Europe. While there are no specific rules on such micro-targeting, there are general rules that apply. We focus on three fields of law: data protection law, freedom of expression, and sector-specific rules for political advertising; for the latter we examine four countries. We argue that the rules in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are necessary, but not sufficient. We show that political advertising, including online political micro-targeting, is protected by the right to freedom of expression. That right is not absolute, however. From a European human rights perspective, it is possible for lawmakers to limit the possibilities for political advertising. Indeed, some countries ban TV advertising for political parties during elections.

Keywords: Online Political Micro-Targeting, Data Protection, Privacy, Freedom of Expression, Advertising Law, Elections

Suggested Citation

Dobber, Tom and Ó Fathaigh, Ronan and Zuiderveen Borgesius, Frederik, The Regulation of Online Political Micro-Targeting in Europe (2019). Internet Policy Review, 8(4), 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3533232

Tom Dobber

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Ronan Ó Fathaigh (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Institute for Information Law (IViR) ( email )

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius

iHub, Radboud University, Nijmegen ( email )

Nijmegen
Netherlands

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