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European Commission accused of breaching online rules

VIENNA (AFP) – A digital privacy campaign group filed a complaint against the European Commission yesterday, accusing the European Union (EU) executive arm of violating its own rules on online advertising.

The Austrian non-profit organisation known as noyb (none of your business) took its case against the commission’s directorate general for migration and home affairs to the European Data Protection Supervisor.

The group said the commission used “unlawful micro-targeting” on X to promote a controversial legislative proposal aimed at combatting online child abuse, according to noyb.

The proposal would require messaging services to detect, report and remove child abuse material on their platforms but data protection groups fear it could lead to mass surveillance.

Noyb said the commission’s advertisements backing the legislation targeted users based on their political views and religious beliefs.


A Dutch complainant represented by noyb was confronted with a post claiming that 95 per cent of Dutch people said the detection of child abuse online is more important or as important as their right to online privacy, the NGO said.

Noyb said the statistics are misleading because they are based on opinion polls conducted by the European Commission that failed to mention the ill effects of chat control mechanisms.

European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson acknowledged in October that there were question marks over whether the ads complied with EU digital rules and they are being reviewed.

Some EU and members of the European Parliament opposed the text over fears about mass surveillance.