Privacy Watchdog Challenges UK’s Handling Of Online Ads
Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, and Michael Veale, a professor at University College London, submitted an appeal on October 21, based on how the country’s data protection watchdog handled an investigation into the way Google and others’ use of personal information for online advertising.
The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office told Killock and Veale that the agency had completed its investigation into their complaint, although it would pursue its own independent probe into how companies collected people’s data to serve them advertisements.
The agency put the investigation on hold in May because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Killock and Veale said they were concerned Google and other online advertising companies would not be held accountable for potential privacy violations under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
“It’s pretty clear that under GDPR, everyone is entitled to remedies,” Killock told Politico. “If they can simply dismiss our complaint without doing anything, they will never have to taken action.”
Politico reports that last month, the Belgium data protection agency reached a preliminary conclusion that stated online advertising in Europe likely broke the 27-country bloc’s tough data protection standards. IAB Europe, said that it disagreed.
The UK privacy regulator initially took a similar approach to how Google and others handled personal information to serve up ads. The concerns focused on people not having enough say over what data is collected, and who has access to it once it enters the complex online advertising world.