Commentary Economy

Google to face in-depth investigation in Europe

Google could be subjected to a new series of investigations into whether it used personal data inappropriately and unethically.

Human rights defenders from eight countries (Germany, France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic) called on national regulators to conduct a new examination of the company’s targeted advertising scheme.

Like the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) that started in May, the new initiative focuses on activities such as browsing the web. Authorities would like to find out more about whether Google violates privacy policies by irresponsibly handling user information. 

When a user clicks on a website, their personal information, including their browser history will be made available to thousands of companies engaging in targeted advertising. 

Liberties, a network of European human rights organisations have  already expressed their support. The Czech Republic is represented in this effort by the League of Human Rights. Google has yet to comment.

“The real-time bidding (RTB) advertising system may provide personal information to hundreds or thousands of companies. This method of advertising clearly violates the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),” said Eva Simonová, a Liberties representative.

According to the GDPR, regulators may impose a fine of up to four percent of the company's global revenue, or 20 million euros, for the violation of the regulations.

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