Dr Johnny Ryan, Senior Fellow of the Irish Civil Liberties Council (the Council) filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Hamburg District Court over secret files. While the lawsuit specifically targets tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, as well as mobile phone service providers, it is more broadly aimed at challenging online advertising and “real-time auctions.”
In a press release, the council explained that secret files are collections of information about internet users, which may include information about a user’s mental health, location, political views, religion, finances. and children’s health needs. Real-time auctions broadcast these records to “thousands of businesses”. Subsequently, “automated auctions take place in real time for the advertising spaces contained on a website while it is being loaded”. The Board has included a plethora of industry documents as evidence indicating that technical measures are not in place to restrict the use and sharing of records by businesses.
The Council said data breaches through records used in real-time auctions occur “hundreds of billions of times a day,” each time violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, GDPR enforcement officials have taken no action to end such practices for three years.
Under Article 13 of the GDPR, Internet users whose personal data is collected must receive various information from the data collector, in particular the name and contact details of the data controller, the purpose of the personal data and, if relevant. , the intention of the controller to transfer the personal data of this user to a third party. Pursuant to Article 12 (1) of the GDPR, the controller must “take appropriate measures to provide” such information “relating to the processing to the data subject in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, in using clear and simple language ”.
Article 26 (2) provides that where there are two or more data controllers, “the essence of the device” must be “made available to the data subject”.
These secret files about you – based on what you think are private – could cause an algorithm to get you off the shortlist for your dream job. A retailer can use the data to offer you a higher price online. A political group could target you with [personalized] disinformation.
If the lawsuit is successful, the online advertising industry will have to stop stalking Internet users through secret files.