New evidence submitted for an investigation into Google's collection of personal data in the European Union reportedly accuses the search giant of stealthy sending your personal user data to advertisers. The company allegedly relays this information to advertisers using hidden webpages, allowing it to circumvent EU privacy regulations.
The evidence was submitted to Ireland's Data Protection Commission, the main watchdog over the company in the European Union, by Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer for privacy-focused browser maker Brave, according to a Financial Times report Wednesday. Ryan reportedly said he discovered that Google used a tracker containing web browsing information, location and other data and sent it to ad companies via webpages that "showed no content," according to FT. This could allow companies buying ads to match a user's Google profile and web activity to profiles from other companies, which is against Google's own ad buying rules, according to the FT.
In response, Google said Wednesday it doesn't serve "personalized ads or send bid requests to bidders without user consent."
The process laid out by Ryan could potentially be "cookie matching" or "cookie syncing," an ad industry practice of matching ads across multiple sites based on a user's browsing history. A Google developer page on cookie matching explains the process and the privacy principles the search engine follows, such as not allowing the info to be harvested by multiple companies.
The Data Protection Commission began an investigation into Google's practices in May after it received a complaint from Brave that Google was allegedly violating the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.
Originally published Sept. 4 at 7:03 a.m. PT.
Update, 8:34 a.m. PT: Adds Google comment and background.