Advertising aimed at ex-cancer patients based on likes is not against the law. Does it violate privacy?

On 25 September, the Advertising Code Committee did the following verdict in Case 018/00311 where a person complained about advertisements of the Trimbos Institute on Facebook. It was about advertisements, clearly meant for (ex)cancer patients, not for a program for people with "interest" in cancer. According to the plaintiff, Trimbos has knowingly used the advertisement, using individual data from Facebook users and personal health data directed to (ex)cancer patients in order to reach. The person's privacy is violated. During the treatment, it is checked whether the law has been broken.

Trimbos indicates that it receives no information about the persons and only but advertising space to rent. Facebook indicates: "Although in the strict within the meaning of the law, there is no question of processing special personal data in the processing of interests that the Facebook group only derives from keywords on pages and apps visited (and not also from the content of profiles), it is a high-impact data processing operation for involved. This is a continuous process that is invisible to users. observation of a large part of their (intimate) surfing behaviour and app use, prohibiting advertisers from notifying interested parties of which profile features they are selected. The core of the privacy legislation is the preventing processing operations that pose a high privacy risk of those involved. For this reason, the Facebook group is in any case under an obligation to in order to inform those concerned in more detail' and then refers to the press release of the Authority Personal data of 3 July 2018 wherein informed that the concerns expressed in this earlier report of the PfA have in the meantime become removed, for example by better informing those involved. According to the AP "offered Facebook advertiser the opportunity to target on the sexual preferences of users that they can indicate in their profile. At the insistence of the AP, Facebook removed this option in 2017 for European users".

So, according to the ruling, it's a person who doesn't appear in her profile a particular piece of personal data, but this data is from her Facebook behavior met, namely her 'likes' and click behavior, to make that she's an ex-cancer patient. In view of the parties' submissions, it is clear that the advertising message in question referred to the processing of interests derived from 'likes' and/or click behaviour of the complainant on Facebook and not from the content of a personal completed Facebook profile. There is insufficient reason to change the way Facebook and/or Trimbos have used the search and 'like' behaviour of the complainant to create a to bring a specific advertising message to its attention, to consider it as a processing of special personal data within the meaning of the law. And therefore this is not considered a violation of the law. The message does not leave to know whether the complainant is satisfied with this verdict.