The inquiry comes after several complaints to the DPC, including from the makers of Brave Browser. The Irish watchdog said that complaints were largely against the way Google handles personal information for advertising. This is all done, of course, without the person's knowledge or consent.
"Arising from the Data Protection Commission's ongoing examination of data protection compliance in the area of personalised online advertising and a number of submissions to the Data Protection Commission, including those made by Dr Johnny Ryan of fearless, a statutory inquiry pursuant to section 110 of the Data Protection Act 2018 has been commenced in respect of Google Ireland Limited's processing of personal data in the context of its online Ad Exchange", said a spokesman for the Irish DPC.
In the absence of federal action, California took an important first step forward in advancing privacy protection with the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. The inquiry concerns Google's massive Ad Exchange platform, which operates real-time online auctions in which highly-sensitive information about users gleaned from their browsing history is traded by companies which use it to create behavioral profiles for ad targeting.
"The Irish Data Protection Commission's action signals that now - almost one year after the GDPR was introduced - a change is coming that goes beyond just Google. Under the GDPR this is unlawful".
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Numerous large technology firms have their European headquarters in Ireland, putting them under the watch of the Irish DPC. What's perhaps scarier for Google, however, is that if found guilty, it would more than likely have to make fundamental changes to the way its ad system works in order to avoid future infractions.
Tough laws could be hard for smaller companies, but big firms like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google and basically any United States company that trades internationally, could benefit from stricter laws if they align better with the European Union's and other nation's laws that use it as a reference.
Google says it will cooperate fully with the DPC investigation, and it already has strong privacy controls.
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