Behavioural advertising is out of control, warns UK watchdog

The online behavioural advertising industry is illegally profiling internet users. That’s the damning assessment of the U.K.’s data protection regulator in an update report published today, in which it sets out major concerns about the programmatic advertising process known as real-time bidding (RTB), which makes up a large chunk of online advertising. In what sounds […]

Privacy policies are still too horrible to read in full

A year on from Europe’s flagship update to the pan-EU data protection framework the Commission has warned that too many privacy policies are still too hard to read and has urged tech companies to declutter and clarify their T&Cs. (So full marks to Twitter for the timing of this announcement.) Announcing the results of a […]

Facebook fails to stop Europe’s top court weighing in on EU-US data transfers

Facebook has failed in its last ditch attempt to block a referral by Ireland’s High Court of questions over the legality of EU-US data transfer mechanisms to the region’s top court. Ireland’s Supreme Court unanimously refused its request to appeal the decision Friday, via Reuters. Irish law does not include a provision to appeal against […]

EU-US Privacy Shield complaint to be heard by Europe’s top court in July

A legal challenge to the EU-US Privacy Shield, a mechanism used by thousands of companies to authorize data transfers from the European Union to the US, will be heard by Europe’s top court this summer. The General Court of the EU has set a date of July 1 and 2 to hear the complaint brought […]

When it comes to elections, Facebook moves slow, may still break things

This week, Facebook invited a small group of journalists — which didn’t include TechCrunch — to look at the “war room” it has set up in Dublin, Ireland, to help monitor its products for election-related content that violates its policies. (“Time and space constraints” limited the numbers, a spokesperson told us when he asked why […]

EU gov’t and public health sites are lousy with adtech, study finds

A study of tracking cookies running on government and public sector health websites in the European Union has found commercial adtech to be operating pervasively even in what should be core not-for-profit corners of the Internet. The researchers used searches including queries related to HIV, mental health, pregnancy, alcoholism and cancer to examine how frequently […]

Facebook urged to offer an API for political ad transparency research

Facebook has been called upon to provide good faith researchers with an API to enable them to study how political ads are spreading and being amplified on its platform. A coalition of European academics, technologists and human and digital rights groups, led by Mozilla, has signed an open letter to the company demanding far greater […]

Facebook warned over privacy risks of merging messaging platforms

Facebook’s lead data protection regulator in Europe has asked the company for an “urgent briefing” regarding plans to integrate the underlying infrastructure of its three social messaging platforms. In a statement posted to its website late last week the Irish Data Protection Commission writes: “Previous proposals to share data between Facebook companies have given rise […]

‘The problem is Facebook,’ lawmakers from nine countries tell Zuckerberg’s accountability stand-in

A grand committee of international parliamentarians empty-chaired Mark Zuckerberg at a hearing earlier today, after the Facebook founder snubbed repeat invitations to face questions about malicious, abusive and improper uses of his social media platform — including the democracy-denting impacts of so-called “fake news.” The U.K.’s DCMS committee has been leading the charge to hold Facebook […]

How a small French privacy ruling could remake adtech for good

A ruling in late October against a little-known French adtech firm that popped up on the national data watchdog’s website earlier this month is causing ripples of excitement to run through privacy watchers in Europe who believe it signals the beginning of the end for creepy online ads. The excitement is palpable. Impressively so, given […]