Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Biggest Data Breach: Americans’ Data Shared 747 Times Daily In Advertising Sales, Report Says

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On average, a person in the U.S. has their online activity and location exposed 747 times every day by the Real-Time Bidding (RTB) industry, says a study by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)

It is estimated that Americans and Europeans transmit their location data and browsing habits 178 trillion times annually through ad platforms. Google sends the same kind of data over 70 billion times a day, over both regions, according to the report.

Further, The report says Google allows 4,698 companies to receive RTB data about people in the US. 

Brokers share data with advertisers in real-time as a web page loads in front of someone reading it. The brands in the adverts themselves are not involved.

Despite the absence of personally identifiable information, privacy advocates contend that the volume of the data is still an invasion of privacy.

“Every day the RTB [Real Time Bidding] industry tracks what you are looking at, no matter how private or sensitive, and it records where you go. This is the biggest data breach ever recorded. And it is repeated every day,” said Dr. Johnny Ryan, a senior fellow at the ICCL who oversaw the compilation of the latest data.

It says European and U.S. Internet users’ private data is sent to firms across the globe, including Russia and China, without any means of controlling what is then done with the data.

Ostensibly, Google is the biggest RTB company. It tracks and shares what people in the U.S. and Europe do online and where they are on a vast scale.

Other key findings according to the report include:

  • The RTB industry generated $117+ billion in the U.S. & Europe in 2021.
  • In Europe, RTB exposes people’s data 376 times a day.
  • Thousand of firms both in Europe and the US receive RTB data from Google.

Bloomberg’s tech reporter Parmy Olson wrote: “It is hard for humans to conceptualize such numbers, even if machines calculate them comfortably everyday — but if the exhaust of our personal data could be seen in the same way pollution can, we’d be surrounded by an almost impenetrable haze that gets thicker the more we interact with our phones.”

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Michael Peres
Michael Peres
Michael Peres is a journalist, software engineer, radio host, founder, and traveler. Peres is the editor and chief at Peres Daily News and covers topics relating to entrepreneurship, politics, entertainment, and daily events. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington.
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