Designers deploy deceptive design (dark patterns) across online interfaces and system architectures. Such designs aim to manipulate users into making decisions that go against their interests or interfere with their autonomy. If deceptive design is combined with profiling, emotion recognition, recommender systems or the IoT, it can have a significant impact on individuals and society-at-large. Several provisions from the EU’s consumer and data protection regimes mitigate some of the associated risks of deceptive design. New EU legislation (DSA, DMA, & AI Act) could further regulate deceptive design. While fundamental rights can help identify deceptive forms of design, it is unsettled whether they can play a larger role addressing the associated harms. This panel contextualises deceptive design through the lenses of regulation and fundamental rights, while offering insights into how the EU’s digital design acquis could be enforced to fight online manipulation.
• Is the emerging legal regime of the EU for regulating digital design (e.g. DSA, UCPD, GDPR, AI Act) sufficient to regulate manipulation?
• How do we develop a test for courts to determine if users are affected by the use of deceptive design or in the alternative, should regulators embrace the development of a legal test to determine online manipulation?
• What is the relationship between profiling and deceptive design, and how does this relationship affect the regulation of deceptive design?
• What is the role of fundamental rights in regulating deceptive design?