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Consumer data, targeted advertising and user choice

The Digital Markets Unit is to be given powers to improve competition in the UK’s digital markets. Which? believes that these powers should include the ability to compel the biggest online platforms to give consumers greater control over how their data is collected and used. This has the potential to improve competition and to tackle the harm experienced by consumers who feel disempowered in their dealing with the biggest tech firms.

Most consumers know that the online platforms they use collect data about them to some extent. Some people welcome the personalisation of advertising as they are more likely to receive adverts that are relevant for them, and so they are comfortable with what they receive in return for giving up their data. However, many other people are uncomfortable about the amount of personal data that is collected and want to have greater control over its collection and use.

This report explains why a pro-competitive intervention to give consumers greater control over their data at Google and Facebook is necessary and presents the findings of our research estimating the value of the reduction in harm that would result from giving consumers more control.

Consumer data, targeted advertising and user choice (report) 128 Kb | 29 Sep 2021