A General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) complaint shows that Google may have misused people’s personal data and categorized them in highly sensitive ways, according to reports.
Google’s ad technology apparently labels users depending on their internet activity, noted a report in TechCrunch. What’s more, they’re labeled with tags like cancer, mental health, right- or left-wing politics or even sexually transmitted diseases.
These sensitive topics get shared with potentially thousands of third party companies through a live ad-auction process called real-time bidding (RTB).
The RTB complaint was filed last year by Dr Johnny Ryan from the browser Brave; Michael Veale, a researcher at University College London; and Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group. They say there are “wide-scale and systemic breaches of the data protection regime by Google and others.”
“There is no legal justification for such pervasive and invasive profiling and processing of personal data for profit,” the complaint said.
Polish anti-surveillance NGO Panoptykon Foundation has also joined in the complaint.
“Ad auction systems are obscure by design,” Katarzyna Szymielewicz, president of the NGO said. “Lack of transparency makes it impossible for users to exercise their rights under GDPR. There is no way to verify, correct or delete marketing categories that have been assigned to us, even though we are talking about our personal data. IAB [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] and Google have to redesign their systems to fix this failure.”