Brave, the emerging privacy-centric browser with its own native cryptocurrency, has claimed that Google is using hidden web pages to feed its users’ personal data to advertisers, Financial Times reports.
The evidence, now in the hands of the Irish data regulator, accuses the Big G of allowing users (and their browsing habits) to be profiled, resulting in targeted advertisements.
It is claimed that these actions circumvent the EU privacy rules that require the consent and transparency of technology giants such as Google.
Remember: Google is Brave’s number one competitor
According to the Financial Times, Brave’s chief policy officer, Johnny Ryan, discovered Google’s alleged secret webpages after tracking their data, as they were marketed in the Google advertising exchange authorized Buyers, formally known as DoubleClick.
According to reports, Ryan’s evidence shows that Google “tagged him with an identification tracker that fed third-party companies that signed into a hidden web page.”
That website allegedly showed no content, but contained a “unique address” that linked directly to Ryan’s browsing activity. After an hour of surfing the web using Google Chrome, the report says that Ryan found that six separate pages had sent his identifier to at least eight technology companies.
Then, Brave reportedly commissioned an adtech analyst to reproduce Ryan’s findings. They recruited “hundreds of people” to try Google for a month.
The Financial Times states that the investigation confirmed that Google’s “secret website identifiers” were truly unique to each user. Analysts discovered that they had been shared with multiple advertising companies to increase the effectiveness of targeted advertising.
The media also reported that a Google spokesman had said: “We do not serve personalised ads or send bid requests to bidders without user consent.”
According to reports, Google is cooperating with the Irish data regulator in its investigation.