Digital ad industry accused of 'world's largest data breach'2021-06-16 17:07 by Daniela
Tags: IAB Tech Lab, RTB
New York-based IAB Tech Labs, a standards body for the digital advertising industry, is being taken to court in Germany by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) in a piece of privacy litigation that's targeted at the high-speed online ad auction process known as real-time bidding (RTB).
The driving force behind the lawsuit is Dr Johnny Ryan, a former adtech insider turned whistleblower who's now a senior fellow at the ICCL — and who has dubbed RTB the biggest data breach of all time. In its lawsuit, the ICCL has pointed out that the use of RTB greatly violates the user privacy of millions since so much personal data is being shared across vast networks.
Real-time bidding refers to the buying and selling of online ad impressions through auctions conducted in the time it takes a webpage to load. While a page loads, real-time bidding helps facilitate the sharing of various details gleaned from the device the web page is loading on, including its location, along with information about previously visited websites.
"Every time we load a page on a commercial website or use an app, the website or app tells tens or hundreds of companies all about us, so that their clients can decide whether to bid on the opportunity to show you an ad," Dr. Ryan told the BBC. "These bid requests include inferences of your sexual orientation, religion, what you're reading, watching, and listening to, your location," says Dr. Ryan.
IAB Tech Lab is a consortium comprising of some of the biggest tech firms, like Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc., and it's responsible for providing the technical standards based on which the online digital ad space operates.
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