Irish civil rights group to file privateness lawsuit over on-line advertisements

BRUSSELS, June 16 (Reuters) – The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) will file a lawsuit against the IAB Tech Lab in a German court on Wednesday for alleged violations of EU data protection regulations.

It’s about real-time bidding systems, the core of today’s online advertising industry, through which companies like the Alphabet unit Google and publishing groups sell ads as part of a bidding process.

The method that collects users’ browsing history and sends it to hundreds or thousands of companies for them to auction and place ads is used by member companies of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which has more than 650 members. The IAB Tech Lab is the affiliated standardization body of the IAB.

Critics say browsing history can reveal intimate personal data and consumer consent is not sought in some cases.

ICCL said it would submit hundreds of pages of evidence of users’ personal data obtained from real-time bidding systems to the court in Hamburg, northern Germany.

Hamburg was chosen because the New York-based IAB Tech Lab has an office in the city and the local unit is subject to EU data protection regulations, the so-called GDPR.

“A retailer could use the data to pick you online at a higher price. A political group could target you with personalized disinformation, ”ICCL senior fellow Johnny Ryan said in a statement.

“We were not sent any documents in this case. We will examine the allegations in cooperation with our legal advisors and, if necessary, react in due course, ”said a spokesman for the IAB Tech Lab.

Google has stated that publishers must obtain consent for personalized advertising in order to use its systems.

Since 2018, various civil rights, digital and human rights groups have complained about real-time bids to data protection officers in 15 EU countries.

Irish and Belgian data protection authorities are already investigating the problem.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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