Brave Browser Delivers on Promise, Files GDPR Complaint Against Google

Earlier today, March 16, Brave filed a formal complaint against Google with the lead General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforcer in Europe.

In a February Cointelegraph interview, Dr. Johnny Ryan, Brave’s chief policy and industry relations officer, explained that Google is abusing its power by sharing user data collected by dozens of its distinct services, creating a “free for all” data warehouse. According to Ryan, this was a clear violation of the GDPR. 

Aggravated with the situation and the lack of enforcement against the giant, Ryan promised to take Google to court if things don’t change for the better.

Complaint against Google 

Now, the complaint is with the Irish Data Protection Commission. It accuses Google of violating Article 5(1)b of the GDPR. Dublin is Google’s European headquarters and, as Dr. Ryan explained to Cointelegraph, the Commission “is responsible for regulating Google's data protection across the European Economic Area”.

Article 5(1)b of the GDPR requires that data be “collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes”. According to Dr. Ryan:

“Enforcement of Brave’s GDPR ‘purpose limitation’ complaint against Google would be tantamount to a functional separation, giving everyone the power to decide what parts of Google they chose to reward with their data.”

Google is a “black box”

Dr. Ryan has spent six months trying to elicit a response from Google to a basic question: “What do you do with my data?” to no avail. 

Alongside the complaint, Brave released a study called “Inside the Black Box”, that: 

“Examines a diverse set of documents written for Google’s business clients, technology partners, developers, lawmakers, and users. It reveals that Google collects personal data from integrations with websites, apps, and operating systems, for hundreds ill-defined processing purposes.”

Brave does not need regulators to compete with Google

Cointelegraph asked Dr. Ryan how Google’s treatment of user data frustrates Brave as a competitor, to which  Dr. Ryan replied:

“The question is not relevant. Brave does not —  as far as I am aware — have direct frustrations with Google. Brave is growing nicely by being a particularly fast, excellent, and private browser. (It doesn't need regulators to help it grow.)”

A recent privacy study indicated that Brave protects user privacy much better than Google Chrome or any other major browser.

In addition to filing a formal complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commission, Brave has reportedly written to the European Commission, German Bundeskartellamt, UK Competition & Markets Authority, and French Autorité de la concurrence.

If none of these regulatory bodies take action against Google, Brave has suggested that it may take the regulator to court..