Brave, a first of its kind internet browser powered by blockchain technology, is taking international legal action against Google for systematically breaching user privacy on a large scale. Google’s actions are probably in violation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law, so Brave’s actions against Google could lead to an investigation and heavy fines from the European Data Protection Board.
Brave has filed complaints against Google in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer at Brave, says, “There is a massive and systematic data breach at the heart of the behavioral advertising industry. Despite the two-year lead-in period before the GDPR, adtech companies have failed to comply.”
Allegedly, Google collects personal data about a user and their internet behavior, and broadcasts it to dozens if not hundreds of data firms. Selling personal data is big business for Google, particularly using this data for its Adsense and Adwords products to display ads targeted at specific users. The online ad industry has grown to USD 273 billion this year, with Google being the biggest online ad service.
Research shows that this goes beyond ads. Google supposedly collects data on political ideology, sexuality, and ethnicity, and distributes this to data firms who are willing to pay for it. Essentially, Google is wiretapping the internet usage of the world and selling the data for profit. It has been speculated that this data goes to governments and is used for criminal investigations.
Brave was specifically designed to improve the privacy of internet users, as well as launching a completely new ad model where publishers and users are paid with a cryptocurrency called BAT. This eliminates the middleman in the online ad business. Middlemen such as Google take most of the profits for online ads, leaving only a small fraction for publishers.
Since Brave is actively trying to protect user privacy, it makes sense that it noticed Google’s data collection activities. Google has been compromising the privacy of the Brave browser, defeating its purpose.
If Brave is successful with the legal action, Google could be fined up to 4% of their yearly revenue, which is billions of dollars, and it would lead to a beneficial reduction of data collection by the internet giant and other internet firms. However, Google can afford the most powerful lobbyists and lawyers in the world, and some foresee that any fight against it won’t be easy.
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