The Zuck, Personalized Advertising, and the European Data Protection Board Battle Royale 2023

December 13, 2022

I read “EDPB Adopts Art. 65 Dispute Resolution Binding Decisions Regarding Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp”. The less-then-exciting prose makes clear that the pesky EU and its GDPR ideas are not going away. The official document, dated December 6, 2022, stated:

The Facebook and Instagram draft decisions concern, in particular, the lawfulness and transparency of processing for behavioural advertising. The WhatsApp draft decision concerns notably the lawfulness of processing for the purpose of the improvement of services. Several SAs issued objections on the draft decisions prepared by the Irish SA concerning, among others, the legal basis for processing (Art. 6 GDPR), data protection principles (Art. 5 GDPR), and the use of corrective measures including fines.

After a few more committee meetings, more information will be posted.

This seems pretty innocuous. Another EU regulation, delays, discussions, and inevitable litigation.

Nevertheless, several observations appear to be warranted by your trusty observer in rural Kentucky:

  1. Will the EU and its state entities levy fines? My hunch is, “Ka-ching” sound a number of times. Go where the money is before the money runs out.
  2. Will the personalized ad contagion spread to other US outfits? My initial reaction is, “Not even a China-style Covid lockdown can prevent the problem from spreading, morphing, and befuddling some legal eagles.”
  3. Will the personalized advertisers change? My instinct is that there will be some change. But it will be inspired by Google’s attempt to deal with its tracking methods.
  4. Will the issue penetrate the hermetically sealed walls of the Apple spaceship? Let me go out on a limb and suggest, “Yep, Level Four containment will be breached.”
  5. What does consenting to terms and conditions for a service mean? Here’s my take: “Grounds for legal action because… consumers.”

Stephen E Arnold, December 13, 2022


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