Justice Beat: Could tailored advertising cause discrimination?


The CrowdJustice Team

posted on 22 Mar 2019

Hot topics in the legal world and updates on legal matters funded on CrowdJustice - all in this week’s Justice Beat.

Quote of the day

“No one will buy a condemned house.” - A family displaced by HS2 are fighting for a fair valuation of their home

Targeting ads

1. We’re all familiar with tailored ads, but what if targeting unfairly excludes people? There’s bound to be a backlash, as Facebook discovered this week. Axios reports that the social media company reached a $5 million settlement in respect of charges that Facebook’s system allowed advertisers to discriminate against minority groups in housing, employment and credit opportunities. The case was taken by civil liberties group the ACLU.

2. If Facebook’s settlement seems steep, spare a thought for Google, which has recently been fined an eye-watering $1.7 billion by the European Commission for what it considers to be abusive practices in Google’s brokering of online ads for other websites such as media outlets and travel comparison sites. These infractions relate to anti-competitive behaviour spanning decades, Wired reports.

3. In the UK, domestic advertising regulators are sticking up for consumers by penalising companies whose ads capitalise on fears surrounding Brexit. The BBC reports that the Advertising Standards Authority ordered a financial services company not to run an advert suggesting that people might want to take out a loan to stockpile food ahead of Brexit.

Free speech fears

4. Close scrutiny and the ability to comment critically on government actions are cornerstones of a well-functioning political system, but they have come under increasing threat in Russia, where President Putin has signed into law a series of bills that would criminalise "blatant disrespect" for the state. Potential penalties include fines and jail time, the Hill reports.

Facial recognition risks

5. We may all end up as guinea pigs for developing facial recognition technology, but a new report suggests that vulnerable people are most at risk of having their privacy invaded. Research summarised on Slate.com alleges that the US government, researchers and technology companies have used images of immigrants, abused children and deceased people to test facial recognition systems without obtaining any consents.

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This week on CrowdJustice

Six “ordinary citizens” are raising funds to challenge an injunction obtained by UK Oil and Gas which prohibits protest by “persons unknown” at drilling sites, a community group is fundraising to challenge a decision by Warwick District Council to close an outdoor swimming pool, and Batten Disease Family Association is raising funds for legal advice on options to challenge a decision not to supply a life-prolonging drug.

Plus: good news for families of children with special educational needs and disabilities: campaign group SEND Action has been granted permission to challenge the Government’s SEND funding policy in a landmark judicial review. SEND Action raised £14,000 on CrowdJustice. They are represented by Irwin Mitchell.

Want to learn more about funding for legal action?

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Questions? Get in touch: info@crowdjustice.com.

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