If you’ve ever heard of DuckDuckGo, a web browser that doesn’t track your history and is privacy-focused, then you’re in the minority. Another company that developed a similar browser, Brave, is suing Google because they claim Google violated Europe’s new GDPR regulations.
Founded by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, Brave is a sister browser to Mozilla that offers high levels of privacy for its users – mainly utilized in mainland Europe, Britain, and Ireland, Brave offers a classier web browsing experience and caters to European tech taste whereas DuckDuckGo has a more American, tongue-in-cheek appeal.
On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 Mr. Eich filed his official complaint due to possible GDPR violations committed by Google. He claims that Google’s digital advertising platform has not moved quickly enough to meet the regulations seemingly respected by many websites on the internet who clearly assure their customers and visitors that their data is protected.
Mr. Eich cited Article 62 in the GDPR rules to begin an EU-wide investigation into Google’s handling of consumer data. The GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, was passed by EU regulators in order to give people more control over how their data is used on the internet but Brave alleges that Google and its subsidiaries are exploiting consumer data instead.
To understand how this can affect an internet user, take this example: you’re browsing a website, and you see an advertisement in the sidebar of a blog. Advertising tech companies can track your IP address and see who is causing impressions (views) of that advertisement so they can properly charge the advertiser. There is actually more information than just your IP address being tracked, of course, such as what you’re reading, watching, your location, and even the type of device that you’re on.
If that makes you nervous, then you shouldn’t be on the internet – everyone’s tracking everybody. What you should be concerned about is how companies are using your information if you live in Europe and fall under GDPR, and American tech giants’ desire to use consumer data for financial gain.
As for Google’s response on this claim, they released this statement: “We build privacy and security into all our products from the very earliest stages and are committed to complying with the EU General Data Protection Regulation. We provide users with meaningful data transparency and controls across all the services that we provide in the EU, including for personalized advertising.”
If Google is found guilty by the EU, they could be heavily fined for the entire digital advertising industry – in fact, fines could be as much as four percent of Google’s European profits, or approximately 20 million Euros (whichever is higher). Seeing as Google might stand to lose $4.39 billion since that is approximately 4% of their global turnover, they have quite a heavy fine to pay if found guilty.
In short, it stands to reason that no matter the outcome of Mr. Eich’s claim, Google will be paying very close attention to its European branches and how it handles EU citizen data from this point going forward.