Earlier this week, privacy browser Brave took a rather bold step by filing a privacy complaint against Google in the U.K. and Eire. While Brave’s intentions remain unknown, one must ask: Were the complaints lodged for the greater good or does it represent a publicity stunt?
Brave’s Push for the Greater Good
Launched in 2017 by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, Brave was one of the most-awaited projects last year and raised a record $32 million within 30 seconds of launching its ICO.
The browser features inbuilt ad-blocking software. It’s native cryptocurrency, Basic Attention Token (BAT), meanwhile, allows users to access advertisements, pay content creators and earn money for surfing the web. The browser also helps cut data usage by streamlining user behavior and loading less information per webpage.
According to Reuters, Brave’s complaint highlighted Google’s infamous practice of storing customer data, deploying “cookies” (behavior trackers) and leveraging sensitive information to generate revenue.
Such “wide-scale and systematic breaches” conducted by Google, and other advertisement industry players, voided fundamental customer privacy acts, which led Brave to pursue the case with legal authorities.
The complaint added that, while using the Google browser, a user’s personal information can be broadcasted to “tens or hundreds” of companies, with users unaware that all of the advertisements they view are, in fact, targeted information as a result of their browsing behavior.
EU Laws Enforced
In its complaint, Brave is trying to enforce the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which could spur a formal EU investigation into Google’s business practices should court authorities consider the matter.
Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer at Brave, stated:
“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.”
Administered in 2018, the GDPR is a strict set of laws to protect customer data from the hands of corporate giants. The legislation is specific to 28 countries in the EU and applicable to all data originating in the region and utilized beyond it.
Google, meanwhile, has reportedly deployed strong privacy protections after consulting with EU lawmakers, making Brave’s complaint an embarrassing development if no fallacies are found.
Brave’s business practice seeks to eliminate intermediaries in the ad industry, with Eich being a popular naysayer of Google’s practices.
Cover Photo by ev on Unsplash