A branch of the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and other important players will face a sue, for data breach. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) started the legal action last month.
Data breach and shared data
Johnny Ryan, a senior fellow of the ICCL brought the case to the court. According to him, the case started as there is a huge volume of data that companies share about their users. He mentioned that brokers and other companies share the data, while they auction ad space.
According to Ryan, most of the users have no idea about the amount of data companies share about them. Moreover, they do not know who receives their data.
Then, advertisers use the data to target digital ads. It is also true that this business model keeps online services free to use. But Ryan argues that there is users have no idea about how players trade their data.
And we speak about the users’ devices, location, browsing history and search queries.
Companies auction users
Ryan explained that users that see empty advertising spaces that subsequently show ads, see in fact how advertisers auction them.
Although there are many agencies involved in the process, the brands are not directly part of it. Still, they take advantage of the system, to earn more.
Although advertisers argue that they do not share personal data, critics say that the volume still represents an online privacy violation.
Ryan explained the way the system works, every time we load a page. “The website or app tells tens or hundreds of companies all about us,” he said. They include deductions about sexual orientation, style, location etc. Thus, their customers make a decision on biding to show us ads.
Moreover, based on some codes, the companies know, based on some codes, if a user’s profile was on a website before.
The codes that identify us
It is known that IAB provides codes that advertisers use to categorize users. Thus, there is a code for users with debts, for different sexual or religious views. The advertising systems attach them to individual profiles.
At the moment, a code like 60 is attached to households which have an income of less than $10,000. So, Ryan considers this to be a data breach.
So, based on these things, Ryan opened a case with a court in Hamburg. He mentioned that no user actively consents that companies have the right to gather or share this data.
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