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Data protection: Is LinkedIn in breach of the Digital Services Act?

LinkedIn is no longer just a career portal where employers and employees can find each other. The social network has also become increasingly attractive for advertising partners in recent years. The EU Commission must now investigate whether the company may be violating the provisions of the Digital Services Act (DSA) in its actions. After all, the network apparently evaluates sensitive user data in order to place personalized advertising.

Is LinkedIn in breach of EU law?

The DSA came into force on November 16, 2022. It has been fully applicable in the EU since February 17, 2024. Accordingly, the Commission should already be prepared for the fact that there will be regular complaints about various online service providers. An association of various civil rights organizations has now complained about the career portal LinkedIn. The organizations behind the complaint are the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF), European Digital Rights (EDRi), Bits of Freedom and Global Witness.

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In their view, LinkedIn is apparently in breach of the DSA. The organizations also provide seemingly valid arguments directly. Firstly, the network is undoubtedly a very large platform within the meaning of the DSA. This is the basic prerequisite for the DSA to be applicable at all. According to the complaint, LinkedIn allegedly disregards the regulations on the use of personal data and uses profiling to place personalized advertising. This involves extremely sensitive data such as political opinions, sexual preferences and ethnicity.

DSA to be rigorously enforced

Even though the DSA and its rules have only been in force for a few days, civil rights organizations are calling for consistent enforcement of the regulations. In doing so, the Commission should also consider the upcoming EU elections this year as well as elections in EU member states. It would be advisable to show citizens that applicable EU law is actually being implemented. The regulation on the processing of personal data in the DSA plays a particularly important role in our digitalized world. It is not without reason that the organizations describe the regulation as an “important achievement of the DSA”. It protects users “from discriminatory targeting”. It also prevents “targeted polarization and manipulation through misleading or selective messages via advertisements”. Here, too, the 2024 elections come to mind.

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After all, users could be influenced in their personal opinions by personalized advertising. The GFF, represented by Jürgen Bering (process coordinator), is visibly indignant about LinkedIn’s approach. The organization had checked on its own whether profiling was still possible on the platform after the DSA came into force and was negatively surprised. LinkedIn is still keeping a low profile. When asked by heise online, the network stated that it had not yet seen the complaint. Pro forma, however, the company’s spokesperson has already emphasized that it would comply with the provisions of the DSA and would in no way disregard the “provisions on ad targeting”. So it’s a case of statement against statement. We are curious to see what the EU Commission has to say about this.

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LinkedIn is no longer just a career portal where employers and employees can find each other. The social network has also become increasingly attractive for advertising partners in recent years. The EU Commission must now investigate whether the company may be violating the provisions of the Digital Services Act (DSA) in its actions. After all, the network apparently evaluates sensitive user data in order to place personalized advertising. Is LinkedIn in breach of EU law? The DSA came into force on November 16, 2022. It has been fully applicable in the EU since February 17, 2024. Accordingly, the Commission should … (Weiterlesen...)

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