Brave, a privacy-driven browser, and other plaintiffs have lodged complaints in Britain and Ireland against Google and other companies citing end-user data negligence.
Our world today seems to be fueled by how much of ourselves we can put out there. Personal and heartfelt Instagram posts, selfies, live streaming the birth of your child on Facebook (it does actually happen), you get the picture. These are things that we choose to share with the world. We control our own level of privacy.
Privacy is Key
However, according to Reuters, Brendan Eich believes that some corporations are not as careful with our privacy as we are. Brave, a web browser focused on end-user privacy and co-founded by Eich, filed complaints against digital advertising firms and Google alleging that they are not being as responsible as they should be with user data.
The hope is that the case will result in the European Data Protection Board investigating further and making amendments to the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which works to ensure that people control their personal data held by companies.
Chief policy officer for Brave, Johnny Ryan, explained further:
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, adtech companies have failed to comply.
The complaint has been taken on by London-based ITN Solicitors and also involves Ryan, Michael Veale, who is an academic of the University College London and Jim Killock of non-profit organization, Open Rights Group.
The complaint discussed how all of our personal and private information is made available to hundreds of companies who use it to then place strategic and targeted ads, all without our knowledge. It alleges that this happens when we browse online, which is what a lot of us do whether in our personal or professional capacity.
Data up for Grabs
It also mentioned that the adtech industry is involved in “wide-scale and systematic breaches of the data protection regime” through “real-time bidding” which involves two main channels – OpenRTB and Authorised Buyers. The latter is run by Google, which has said that it is committed to adhering to the GDPR.
Any changes made because of this complaint would then heavily impact not only these companies, but on the way we as the end-user uses the Internet as well. Ravi Naik, who is a partner at ITN Solicitors, said the case was “likely to have far-reaching and dramatic consequences, which may change our fundamental relationship with the Internet.”
The online ad industry is a lucrative one, set to make a reported turnover of $273 billion for this year alone. Any deviation from GDPR rules could result in fines of up to 4% of a company’s turnover.
A disturbing allegation in the complaint is that some of the data that is gained without user permission could be of a sexual nature and could contain other information such as political opinions or ethnicity related info. All in the supposed name of personalized and tailored advertising.
Do you think that Brave and their co-plaintiffs will be successful with this case? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Shutterstock.