Privacy-Focused ‘Brave’ Browser Files Complaint Against Google Ad Data Harvesting

Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Bad news for Google and other internet advertisers: Brave is pushing to make farming user data a whole lot harder.

Founder Brandon Eich wants to bring the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the doorstep of some of the most powerful companies in the world. “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,”  Brave’s chief policy officer Johnny Ryan told Reuters.

Eich and Brave are calling out the way that personal data is harvested by various websites and then used to target ads — if the company in question does not simply sell that information off to the highest bidder.

The complaint maintains that these practices “[violate] the GDPR’s requirement for personal data to be processed in a way that ensures they are properly secured, including against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss.”

If the court rules in Brave’s favor, companies like Google could face immense penalties — as much as four percent of their bottom line. Within a $273 billion dollar industry enjoying explosive growth on the backs of unwitting consumers, there is a lot of money potentially on the table.

Attorney Ravi Naik of London-based ITC Solicitors is representing the plaintiffs and has said that he believes the case “is likely to have far reaching and dramatic consequences, which may change our fundamental relationship with the Internet.”


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