The news: In the month since a federal appellate court revived a 2019 lawsuit against ad tech firm NaviStone for invasive targeting practices, 10 more lawsuits have been filed against various companies for similar privacy violations.
Upending advertising norms: Companies that have been subject to ad tracking lawsuits have offered a similar response—that the practices they’re being sued for are common across their industries and the internet at large, and that litigation poses a risk to all businesses that operate similarly.
How we got here: Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the federal government has turned its eye to the advertising industry, where a series of high-profile incidents exposing women seeking abortions have highlighted just how detailed the information is that advertisers collect on citizens.
Attempts to skirt around changing standards have ended poorly. Meta’s latest fire to put out is a class-action lawsuit that emerged after it was revealed the company was injecting tracking code into its in-app browsers in order to circumvent Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency policy—another change that has damaged advertising effectiveness.
The big takeaway: Legislation for privacy reform has bipartisan support, even if it leaves loopholes for law enforcement. As litigation stacks up and privacy becomes a more fraught public issue, a crucial legal decision looms on the horizon that will affect the future of digital advertising.
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