Brave, a privacy-focused browser, accuses Google of using hidden web pages to take users’ personal data and target them with ads.
The evidence – now in the hands of the Irish Data Regulatory Authority – reportedly reveals Google’s involvement in allowing users to draw a picture of their browsing habits, making it easier for advertisers to target ads.
Brave’s claim that these measures circumvent EU privacy regulations that require user consent to use their personal data, as well as the transparency of the US technology giant.
Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer at Brave, discovered the alleged secret web pages of Google after tracking his data while trading on Google’s advertising platform, officially known as DoubleClick.
Ryan’s evidence suggests that Google “privileged it with a special identifier, and then gave it to third-party affiliates who logged on to a hidden web page.”
It is alleged that this webpage did not display any content, but included a “unique title” directly linked to Ryan’s browsing activity. One hour after browsing the web using Google Chrome, Ryan found that six separate pages sent his identifier to at least eight advertising companies.
Brave commissioned a technical advertising analyst to reproduce Ryan’s results. They then recruited “hundreds of people” to test Google over one month.
The investigation confirmed that the alleged “secret web page IDs” from Google were unique to each user. Analysts found that they were partnered with several advertising companies to enhance the effectiveness of targeted advertising.
Source : FT