Published: 05th September 2019
Google secretly sharing users' personal information with advertisers: Report
New evidence says that Google allegedly used a tracker containing web browsing information, location and other data and sent it to advertising companies
Ever wondered why you see advertisements based on what you searched or what you just posted online? Looks like you got to blame it all on Google. The internet giant is allegedly relaying your personal information to advertisers via hidden web pages, allowing it to circumvent the European Union privacy regulations, new evidence submitted to Ireland's Data Protection Commission has revealed.
The Data Protection Commission began an investigation into Google's practices in May after it received a complaint from privacy-focused browser maker Brave that Google was allegedly violating the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), CNET on Wednesday quoted a Financial Times report.
Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer for Brave, submitted the new evidence, and discovered that Google allegedly used a tracker containing web browsing information, location and other data and sent it to advertising companies via webpages that "showed no content".
Ryan's evidence showed that Google had "labelled him with an identifying tracker that it fed to third-party companies that logged on to a hidden web page". Google responded, saying it doesn't serve "personalized ads or send bid requests to bidders without user consent".
According to the Data Protection Commission, the purpose of its inquiry "is to establish whether processing of personal data carried out at each stage of an advertising transaction is in compliance with the relevant provisions of the GDPR."The GDPR principles of transparency and data minimisation, as well as Google's retention practices, will also be examined," it had said.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday directed Google to pay a record $170 million over YouTube's child privacy violations. The settlement requires Google and YouTube to pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York for allegedly violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.
In a complaint filed against the companies, the FTC and New York Attorney General alleged that YouTube violated the COPPA Rule by collecting personal information -- in the form of persistent identifiers that are used to track users across the Internet -- from viewers of child-directed channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent.
YouTube earned millions of dollars by using the identifiers, commonly known as cookies, to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint.