Brave is a privacy-focused web browser set up by engineering guru Brandan Eich. It is filling privacy complaints in Britan and Ireland which could potentially become a test case against Google and other companies.
The petitioners stated they wish to activate an article in the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which would require an EU-wide investigation.
The GDPR’s goal is ensuring that individuals gain stronger control over the data that companies have on them. Brave and other petitioners are stating Google and others are exploiting people’s data. Brave’s chief policy officer Johnny Ryan said:
“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 revolves around the fact that when an individual visits a certain website, personal data that describe them and their online activity is being broadcasted to multiple companies in order to auction and place add accordingly. This is of course done without the individual’s knowledge, thus violating the GDPR’s requirement for personal data to be processed in a secure matter.
Google argues it has already executed strong privacy protections while consulting with the European regulators, which comply with the GDPR.
The new data privacy law could have a great influence on a lot of tech firms that are coming between Google and its users to harvest data in order to form precise consumer profiles.
The complaint argues that Google and the adtech industry are committing “wide-scale and systematic breaches of the data protection regime” because of the way they place personalized ads online.
Furthermore, it argues that the data they gather cannot be justified for advertising purposes, as it includes sensitive information such as sexuality, ethnicity or political opinions.
Ravi Naik, a partner at ITN Solicitors in London who is representing the plaintiffs, stated:
‘’This case addressed a long-standing data-protection concern that is likely to have far-reaching and dramatic consequences, which may change our fundamental relationship with the Internet.”