online privacy

Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe Catches Heat from Privacy Advocates

Johnny Ryan, chief policy and industry officer at Brave, a privacy-first web browser, filed a complaint with the Irish Data Commission against Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe on Tuesday evening based on the latter’s alleged violation of GDPR.

A statement circulated by Brave on Tuesday identified IAB Europe as a leading lobbyist for the digital tracking industry and accused the company of violating GDPR guidelines with its “cookie wall,” a message encountered by those navigating to its website that requires visitors to consent to tracking from both IAB Europe and third parties.

“Visitors to IAB Europe’s website, www.iabeurope.eu, are confronted with a ‘cookie wall’ that forces them to accept tracking by Google, Facebook, and others, which may then monitor them,” Brave’s statement claims. “Dr. Ryan has complained to the Irish Data Protection Commission that this is a breach of the GDPR, which protects people in Europe from being forced to accept processing for their data for any purpose other than the provision of the requested service.”

Brave joins other industry upstarts like DuckDuckGo that are attempting to contest the control Big Tech companies exert over the web in such major domains as search, social, and browsing. The complaint signals that Brave is capitalizing on a 2019 news and political cycle dominated by conversations on privacy both to get the word out about its service and draw attention to infringements of privacy standards like GDPR. The complaint also points out that guidelines for how to adapt to GDPR have been less than clear, with tracking and data-collection advocates such as IAB Europe allegedly muddying the waters.

This is a breaking and evolving story. Check back for updates.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa, and shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.

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