Google is reportedly breaking its own rules and sending user data to advertisers for the purpose of crafting personalised ads, according to a report from the Financial Times.
The report comes from information submitted to the EU by one of Google’s rivals, Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer of Brave (the privacy-focused Brave browser). While attempting to keep track of how Google traded user data on their advertising exchange — Authorised Buyers — Ryan discovered he had been given an identifying tracker from Google. With this unique tracker, advertisers were able to tie his ad preferences to his browsing history to more effectively target him with ads.
The results were replicated by technical consulting firm Victory Medium. They tested the described behaviour with a sample of ‘hundreds’ of people over a period of a month and verified that it could be used to enhance ad targeting.
Google claims that it does not share user data with third parties without explicit consent, but this undermines that. If proven credible, it’ll demonstrate that the firm has been able to share data to third party users without them being able to even consent as they’ll have no idea about it, to begin with.
Google told the Financial Times that it had not seen the information from Brave and denied that it shared personal data to advertisers without user content.