The Irish Civil Liberties Council (ICCL) on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in a German court against the global online advertising industry.
The lawsuit targets tech giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, as well as the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and challenges industry rules.
It was presented by Dr Johnny Ryan, senior researcher at ICCL, who believes that the Data Protection Commission in Ireland, as well as other regulators within the EU, have not acted on the complaints formalities submitted by the ICCL over the past three years.
Part of the lawsuit focuses on the online advertising industry’s rules for creating profiles – or “secret files” – of individuals, as well as data shared between advertising brokers and other businesses. while ad space is auctioned when a website loads.
This is called the Real-Time Bidding System (RTB), which is at the heart of today’s online advertising industry, used by thousands of businesses through the IAB. . It collects users’ browsing history and auctions it to hundreds of thousands of third parties so that they can bid on ad space.
“These secret files about you – based on what you think is private – could prompt an algorithm to remove you from shortlist for your dream job,” Ryan said in a statement. “A retailer could use the data to give you a higher price online. A political group could micro-target you with personalized misinformation.”
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Ryan also mistakenly suggests that using the system is a “daily data breach” and denounces General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations for lack of action on this issue. He has also previously accused the UK Information Commissioner’s office of failing to regulate real-time auctions.
“In September 2018, we provided regulators with evidence of illegal behavior by the advertising industry,” said attorney Ravi Naik, partner at law firm AWO. “Due to regulatory inertia, years later we have no solution to this conduct. Instead, the Irish Civil Liberties Council has had to stand up for all of our rights.”
The ICCL claimed to have hundreds of pages of evidence ready for submission to a Hamburg court that highlight personal data collected from real-time auction systems.
IT pro contacted Google and Facebook for comment.
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