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Dark Ads: Public Panel

28 September 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 8:45 pm AEST

Girl looking at computer surrounded by targeted advertising

Join an evening of discussion on the issues raised by the use of targeted advertising online.

Advertising is becoming harder than ever before to hold accountable, which raises important concerns about the legacy of abuses that have characterised the industry. Predatory advertising, discrimination, and the circulation of false and harmful messaging are harder to detect and regulate online because there is no public archive of online ads. The Australian Ad Observatory provides one model for enlisting citizens to help provide transparency for online advertising.

Join the Ad Observatory team and two panels of experts to learn about the issues raised by online advertising and how we might address them. The panels bring together consumer advocates, researchers, and government representatives to discuss online harms and the future of advertising accountability. Our panelists will discuss some of the issues raised by the promotion of harmful industries (such as gambling, alcohol, and ultra-processed foods), the circulation of mis- and disinformation, and examples of discrimination and predatory advertising targeting disadvantaged groups.

Our first panel includes representatives from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, the consumer advocacy group CHOICE, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, and the Consumer Policy Research Centre.

Our second panel will discuss research on dark ads and strategies for countering them. Featured panellists include representatives from the research team at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision Making and Society, the ABC and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network. Each panel will conclude with a public discussion and Q&A session.

*There will be a half-hour break between panels with catering provided

Daniel Angus

Professor Daniel Angus – Chief Investigator, ADM+S at QUT

Daniel is an Associate Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Node and a Professor of Digital Communication in the School of Communication at QUT. His research focuses on the development of computational analysis methods for communication data, with a specific focus on interaction data. His novel computational methods have improved our understanding of the nature of communication in medical consultations, conversations in aged care settings, television broadcast, social media, and newspaper reporting. Daniel presently leads the Computational Communication and Culture program within the QUT Digital Media Research Centre, and contributes regularly to media and industry on the impact of technology on society.

Kate Bower

Kate Bower – Consumer Data Advocate, CHOICE

Kate Bower is a Consumer Data Advocate at CHOICE, Australia’s largest consumer advocacy organisation. The Consumer Data team extends CHOICE’s fight for fair, safe and just markets to data misuse, such as price discrimination and algorithmic bias. Current priorities are automated decision-making in essential services, data monetisation and personalised pricing. Previously at CHOICE, Kate worked as a data analyst on the digital transformation of insurance and financial services comparisons. Before joining the consumer movement, Kate was an academic for more than a decade working across a range of areas including qualitative health research, higher education and gender studies. She has a PhD from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of New South Wales.

Dr Aimee Brownbill – Senior Policy and Research Advisor, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)

Aimee is Senior Policy and Research Advisor at the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), the leading not-for-profit organisation working towards an Australia free from alcohol harm. Aimee has a PhD in Public Health and has contributed to collaborative applied research informing public health policy for several years. In her role at FARE, Aimee integrates her knowledge and experience in research, policy and advocacy to achieve translational outcomes in public health policy and practice. She is currently leading a portfolio of work on digital marketing by harmful industries such as alcohol, gambling and highly processed unhealthy foods, exploring potential avenues for regulation in this space.

Simon Elvery - Copyright ADM

Simon Elvery – Journalist and Developer at ABC News Story Lab, ABC

Simon is an award winning Brisbane based journalist and developer at ABC News Story Lab. He is currently Journalist Fellow at Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford where he is researching the use of technology by journalists in the reporting process. His work covers a wide range of topics including data visualisation, climate change, data security and privacy and algorithmic accountability.

Samuel Kininmonth

Samuel Kininmonth – Policy Officer, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)

Samuel is a communications researcher and consumer policy advocate. Sam is a policy officer at ACCAN, Australia’s peak body that represents all consumers on communications issues including telecommunications, broadband and emerging new services. Sam contributes to ACCAN’s efforts to provide a consumer voice on digital platforms and emerging services.

Sam’s doctoral thesis, titled The Programmatic Promise, focuses on automated media markets and communications infrastructures through a study of programmatic advertising and ad tech. Sam has published work in journals including Television & New Media and presented research in Australia and internationally.

Lizzie O’Shea – Chair, Digital Rights Watch

Lizzie is a human rights lawyer specialising in public interest litigation. Lizzie has local and international experience in a wide array of court jurisdictions, and is passionate about equality before the law and that the rule of law should be protected, particularly given the incursions on civil liberties that have become a staple part of the war on terror. In 2019, Lizzie received the Human Rights Hero Award for her work campaigning against Australia’s encryption laws.

Verity Trott

Dr Verity Trott – Lecturer in Digital Media Research, Monash University

Dr Verity Trott is Lecturer in Digital Media Research at Monash University. Her published research explores digital feminist activism, popular (anti)feminism, online communities and platform politics, and digital masculinities. She is a member of the Automated Society Working Group at Monash University in which she investigates the impacts of digital technology and automation from feminist and intersectional standpoints.

Jane Tan

Xue Ying Tan (Jane) – Software Engineer in the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT

Jane obtained her Bachelor of Information Technology and Master of Computer Science degrees from the University of Queensland, in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In her studies, she participated in High Performance Parallel Computing research, building a compiler to translate from OpenACC to OpenMP; and completed an internship with the National University of Singapore, Digital Media Research lab, working on surface meshing algorithms with GPU using CUDA Thrust. In her role with DMRC, she focuses on the utility of computational methods including techniques such as topic modelling, machine learning, and information visualization to explore everyday promotional cultures in visual social media platforms. Her interests include Machine Learning, Full Stack Web Development and Data Analytics.


Erin Turner – Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC)

Erin Turner is a consumer advocate that has worked with a broad range of governments and regulators to make markets fairer for Australians. Erin was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Policy Research Centre in March 2022. Erin most recently led the advocacy and communications team at consumer group CHOICE. Erin has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Politics and Public Policy. She is a board member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) and the Chair of the Financial Rights Legal Centre.

Lucy Westerman

Lucy Westerman – Commercial Determinants of Health Lead, VicHealth

Lucy works at the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation – VicHealth, exploring the ways in which businesses’ products and practices influence health and how to mitigate their harms. She recently returned from living in the UK, where she led global campaigns and the chronic disease prevention and health promotion policy and advocacy work at global NGO, the NCD Alliance, in pursuit of stronger and better policy and action for disease prevention. Through her career to date, Lucy has sharpened her focus on alcohol, gambling, tobacco, food, and physical inactivity, and looking ‘upstream’ at cross-cutting issues such as the influence of social, political, commercial, and environmental determinants on health – and illness. Lucy holds a Master of Public Health, and bachelor’s degrees in Health Promotion, Sociology, and Nutrition, and is mother to two teenagers.


28 September 2022
6:00 pm - 8:45 pm AEST


Kaleide Theatre
360 Swanston St
Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia