Brave, the company behind the Basic Attention Token and the Brave browser, has filed a regulatory complaint against Google and other ad tech companies over what it considers poor user privacy protection in the online ads industry.
The complaint has been filed with Michael Veale of University College of London, Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group, the U.K. information commissioner and the Irish Data Protection Commissioner on behalf of Brave’s chief policy officer Johnny Ryan.
An EU wide investigation
With the complaint, Brave hopes to trigger an article in the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and spark an EU wide investigation.
In a statement Ryan says:
“There is a massive and systematic data breach at the heart of the behavioral advertising industry. Despite the two year lead-in period before the GDPR, ad tech companies have failed to comply. The industry can fix this. Ads can be useful and relevant without broadcasting intimate personal data.”
The complaint targets all ad tech companies that broadcast internet users’ personal data through RTB bid requests. Ryan adds that he hopes that the regulators will ask the industry to stop broadcasting personal data in such a manner.
The complaint says when users search Google, their personal information and online behavior is broadcast to multiple companies that are interested in targeting them with advertisements. The problem lies in that users are not aware of this.
By doing so, Google violates the GDPR’s requirement when it comes to processing personal data. It requires data to be processed in a manner that ensures there is appropriate security against accidental data loss and also unlawful and unauthorized data processing.
The complaint shows that the ad tech industry is, therefore, processing users’ information based on data they collect such as the location, content being viewed, type of device being used, IP address and unique tracking IDs.
This data helps reveal many aspects of users such as gender, age, income, ethnicity, religion, social media influence, sexual orientation, political leaning, and other sensitive information.
Brave says that this data is broadcast widely to potential advertisers who exploit it to target the attention of the individuals visiting the website. Adding that once the data has been broadcast, its dissemination is impossible to control.
Brave has now announced that Quant, not Google’s Chrome, will be its default search engine in Germany and France.
Basil has three years of freelance experience writing on disruptive technologies. He focuses on breaking news and education pieces; helping to spread the gospel of Blockchain. He hopes to have his own blockchain company one day; helping the world through its innovative ledger technology