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European Policy, Free Expression, Government Surveillance

CDTEU Response to the EU Commission’s European Democracy Action Plan

In addition to our submission to the public consultation on the Digital Services Act (DSA) , the Centre for Democracy and Technology’s EU Office (CDTEU) responded to the European Commission’s consultation on the European Democracy Action Plan (Action Plan). The new Action Plan is a political priority for the Commission of President von der Leyen and will tackle some of the key challenges for European democracy. These include manipulation and external interference in elections, media freedom and pluralism, and the fight against disinformation.

In our response, we warn the Commission against the risks related to defining ‘political ads’ and advocate for clear transparency measures on all kinds of ads. Transparency will be a key element to enable watchdogs such as public authorities mandated to uphold electoral law and enforce electoral safeguards. In relation to the use of personal or demographic data to micro-target individual voters, we recommend more robust enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as well as a further reflection on the need to make users more aware and in control. Moreover, we discuss the importance of ensuring that any new regulations of online campaigns comply with applicable EU and international laws and do not disproportionately restrict or hinder human rights. Finally, we discuss the role of selected content moderation practices in tackling disinformation or harmful content and reiterate some key points from our DSA submission such as the need for creating a harmonised, transparent, rights-protective notice-and-action framework.

Read our full response here.