Lawmakers in California have drafted legislation aimed at making life easier, not to mention even more lucrative for advertising technology (adtech) companies – risking to at the same time undermine privacy protections afforded to users under the new California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).
The proposed California Senate Bill would allow exceptions to adtech companies, but Brave – the makers of the eponymous free and open source browser with strong focus on privacy and innovation – has argued against the move in a letter sent to the California Senate Judiciary Committee.
Adtech companies deploy analytics and other tools to assist the advertising business – which all too often finds itself at odds with the need to protect personal data of users. Now Bill 753 pushes for writing into law that “a business does not sell personal information if the business, pursuant to a written contract, shares, discloses, or otherwise communicates to another business or third party a unique identifier only to the extent necessary to serve or audit a specific advertisement to the consumer,” Brave announced in a blog post.
The company voiced its strong opposition to the proposal, stating that the bill could allow advertising exceptions precisely in the segment of the business – real-time auctions taking place hundreds of billions of times each day – that in the past allowed for the biggest personal data leaks.
Brave warns against passing these exceptions as the protection the bill provides amounts to introducing unenforceable data sharing contracts between participants in the process, as a means of curbing the exponential spread of personal information leaked via online auctions.
This data can range from URLs visited by online users, and other collected information such as their age, GPS coordinates, IP addresses – and habits and interests revealed by their online behavior, categorized into “codes” that are then shared.
The letter details the process, which involves hundreds upon hundreds of companies gaining access to personal data found in the bid request codes. This means that “unknown parties can build and share individual profiles without allowing consumers to discover who has access to their personal information.”
Another criticism that the company – itself pioneering new technologies that allow for advertising without harming user privacy – is leveling against the proposed legislation is that it would provide no incentive to innovate to a complacent advertising industry.
Also related to the CCPA, Brave joined 28 other tech firms in signing another letter, this time in support of an amendment dubbed “Privacy For All,” designed to “fix loopholes in the CCPA.”