EDPB Opinion: Consent or Pay models should offer real choice

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has this afternoon issued its much-anticipated Opinion on the controversial issue of ‘consent or pay’ business model and data protection rights.

The EDPB says: “As regards ‘consent or pay’ models implemented by large online platforms, the EDPB considers that, in most cases, it will not be possible for them to comply with the requirements for valid consent, if they confront users only with a choice between consenting to processing of personal data for behavioural advertising purposes and paying a fee.”

“The EDPB considers that offering only a paid alternative to services which involve the processing of personal data for behavioural advertising purposes should not be the default way forward for controllers. When developing alternatives, large online platforms should consider providing individuals with an ‘equivalent alternative’ that does not entail the payment of a fee. If controllers do opt to charge a fee for access to the ‘equivalent alternative’, they should give significant consideration to offering an additional alternative. This free alternative should be without behavioural advertising, e.g. with a form of advertising involving the processing of less or no personal data. This is a particularly important factor in the assessment of valid consent under the GDPR.”

Max Schrems of campaign group nyob said: "Overall, Meta is out of options in the EU. It must now give users a genuine yes/no option for personalised advertising. It can still charge sites for reach, engage in contextual advertising and the like - but tracking people for ads needs a clear 'yes' from users."