Online advertising, particularly targeted advertising, is a fundamental enabler of the Internet economy. Not only do targeted ads allow marketers efficient access to specific audiences, but the higher revenue from these ads helps pay for the vast array of apps, content, and services that consumers access for free online. Some European lawmakers are pushing to ban personalized online ads, claiming that they harm consumer privacy. Given the EU’s extensive existing data privacy framework, consumer privacy is not at risk. However, banning targeted ads would hurt advertisers, app developers, media companies, content creators, and consumers by making online advertising less effective. A ban on targeted ads would reduce the €16 billion of spending on data-driven ads in the EU, threatening about €6 billion of advertising income for app developers. As a result, European consumers would face the prospect of a radically different Internet: more ads that are less relevant, lower quality online content and services, and more paywalls.
The Value of Personalized Advertising in Europe
Benjamin Mueller is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, focusing on AI and technology governance. Prior to joining the Center he was chief of staff at a financial technology company in London. Dr. Mueller studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford, and completed his PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics.
Daniel Castro is the director of the Center for Data Innovation and vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Mr. Castro writes and speaks on a variety of issues related to information technology and internet policy, including data, privacy, security, intellectual property, internet governance, e-government, and accessibility for people with disabilities. His work has been quoted and cited in numerous media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, USA Today, Bloomberg News, and Businessweek. In 2013, Mr. Castro was named to FedScoop’s list of “Top 25 most influential people under 40 in government and tech.” In 2015, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Mr. Castro to the Commerce Data Advisory Council. Mr. Castro previously worked as an IT analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) where he audited IT security and management controls at various government agencies. He contributed to GAO reports on the state of information security at a variety of federal agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In addition, Mr. Castro was a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he developed virtual training simulations to provide clients with hands-on training of the latest information security tools. He has a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.S. in Information Security Technology and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.