From top: Johnny Ryan, Of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Helen Dixon, Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner: A video explaining Real-Time Bidding (RTB) and ‘the biggest data breach in history’
Google and several data brokers are violating the EU’s privacy rules by harvesting people’s personal information to build highly detailed online profiles including some firms’ collection of information on sexual orientation, health status and religious beliefs, according to a report published today.
The accusations — from Johnny Ryan, a senior fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, an NGO — come 18 months after Ireland’s privacy regulator began a probe into how Google collects and shares people’s online information for its advertising business.
Several other European data protection authorities subsequently received separate complaints into so-called real-time bidding (RTB), a system by which advertisers use data to target people with paid-for messages when they surf the web.
Ryan said the real-time bidding system, which broadcasted web users’ online behavior and habits to multiple advertising companies and data brokers, infringed on the region’s privacy rules that required data to be kept secure and used proportionately.
“The [Irish Data Protection] Commission has failed to stop that ongoing biggest data breach in history and as a consequence people across Europe and in Ireland are exposed to intimate profiling including of health conditions and political views and location over time, because the RTB system leaks that data into the data broker market,” he told POLITICO.
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