The European Commission is set to announce plans to clamp down on the misuse of personal data retrieved from social networks in the run-up to the 2019 European Elections, the Financial Times reported on Sunday (26 August). The move comes after the Cambridge Analytica scandal made headlines earlier this year with the company’s acquisition of personal data from Facebook users causing outrage. The Financial Times wrote that the European Commission will draft an amendment prohibiting European political parties from harvesting online data as a means to make strategic headway in next year’s elections. Any potential amendment would require the approval of EU governments as well as the European Parliament. A Commission spokesperson, contacted by EURACTIV, could not offer any specific details.
Punitive measures for companies that fail to comply with the new rules could include fines amounting to 5% of a political party’s budget. Details are still being thrashed out but stakeholders are keen to conclude the process as early as possible, due to the approaching European elections in May of next year, the newspaper said.
Other details that could feature in the proposals include measures against ‘micro-targeting’, the practice of contacting social media users directly without their consent. Britain’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) earlier this year called for a moratorium on the act of micro-targeting in particular.