Data protection violations by data brokers
Privacy and Data Protection
Complete, but litigation ongoing
Online data brokers and advertising technology (adtech) companies gather data and build intricate profiles of internet users, which are then shared and sold to thousands of advertisers. Users have limited ways of giving informed consent or finding out who has access to their data or how it is used. DFF provided an emergency grant to Privacy International so they could translate a complaint they made against a French data broker. This was the only way the French data protection authority would agree to respond to the complaint. As part of their wider project, Privacy International additionally submitted complaints in the UK and Ireland against seven adtech companies, data brokers, and credit rating agencies.
In March 2020, the French data protection authority agreed to investigate the data broker in line with Privacy International’s complaint. Authorities in the UK and Ireland have also launched investigations based on Privacy International’s complaints. In October 2020, the UK regulator took enforcement action against one credit reference agency against which PI had filed a complaint.
The launching of these investigations brought increased media attention and engagement, which has helped to increase scrutiny on the privacy violations perpetrated by the sector.
"In March 2020, the French data protection authority agreed to investigate the data broker in line with Privacy International's complaint. Authorities in the UK and Ireland have also launched investigations"
To change the behaviour of data brokers, adtech companies and credit rating agencies by limiting the tracking and sharing of individual data, thus improving privacy protections for people across Europe.