Brave Joins Formal Privacy Complaints Against Google, Others

With Chief Policy & Industry Relations Officer Johnny Ryan as its signatory, Brave’s leadership, creators of the Brave browser and Basic Attention Token, joined forces with other activists in filing a formal complaint against Google and other “adtech” companies under Europe’s new personal data laws. The petitions allege such firms are guilty of a “massive and ongoing data breach that affects virtually every user on the web.”

Also see: Cryptocurrency Industry Heavyweights Form Lobbying Group

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‘Under the GDPR This Is Unlawful’

Today, September 12th, Brave’s Johnny Ryan joined together with University College London’s Michael Veale and Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock in simultaneously filing a series of formal complaints against Google and other ad industry powerhouses.

The complaints, filed in London and Dublin under the purview of Europe’s stringent new GDPR personal data laws, accuses traditional “adtech” players of systematically breaching the online privacy of countless citizens.

As Johnny Ryan explained in his announcement post, the alleged breaches in question have to do with so-called bid requests:

“Every time a person visits a website and is shown a “behavioural” ad on a website, intimate personal data that describes each visitor, and what they are watching online, is broadcast to tens or hundreds of companies. Advertising technology companies broadcast these data widely in order to solicit potential advertisers’ bids for the attention of the specific individual visiting the website.

A data breach occurs because this broadcast, known as an “bid request’ in the online industry, fails to protect these intimate data against unauthorized access. Under the GDPR this is unlawful.”

The kind of data exposed via bid requests is myriad, including IP addresses, location, content viewed, and more.

Why Brave?

As Reuters noted earlier, if targeted ad companies are ruled against in the complaints at hand, the slapdown could bring on considerable fines and “undermine the foundations of the data-driven model on with the online ad industry.”

To that end, the petitions are a shot across the bow from the upstart Brave, as Brave’s keystone product, a cryptocurrency-centric pay-to-surf web browser, puts their team square in the avant garde of the advertisement ecosystem, with the team’s goal being to unseat privacy-busting ads as the main source of revenue for websites.

Make way at the top, eh.

GDPR In Crypto Headlines Again, But Not As Expected

As the GDPR came into the limelight this year, some in the cryptoverse wondered if the new regulations would prove to be massive thorns in the sides of some crypto projects while being a boon to other compliance-minded projects.

Interestingly, then, a different thread has altogether unfolded upon Brave’s GDPR complaints against Google and co., since in this case the regulations are being resorted to as an enforcement redoubt against the ad industry’s biggest plays.

A New Way?

Above, Reuters outlined how the petitioners’ potential success could induce existential consequences in adtech.

That dynamic would provide clear inroads for ad-busting upstarts in the cryptoverse. Brave is arguably the most popular of that lot, being steered by JavaScript creator Brendan Eich and seeing its native token BAT up for contention for a future Coinbase listing. The project’s not without its controversy, but it hopes to be pointing toward a future where ads no longer dominate the web.

Back in June, Bitsonline profiled Oyster Protocol, another ad-busting play focused on the combo of data storage and revenue. It seems there’s a definite appetite in the ecosystem for a new way forward where advertisements are concerned. Who will win the ad war, inside or outside of the space, remains to be seen for now.

What’s your take? How would you characterize these complaints against the adtech industry? Let us know in the comments below. 

Images via Pixabay

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