Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is investigating Google’s data collection practices in its advertising business, it announced today, marking the latest problem for Google in Europe, where the company is already facing multiple investigations and where it has been fined millions of dollars for privacy and antitrust violations. The investigation is at least the 19th into an American tech company by the Irish regulator, underscoring the many legal hurdles U.S. tech giants face in Europe, where antitrust and privacy rules are much stricter. Google said in a statement it would cooperate with the investigation.
The agency will be looking into whether the processing of personal data at each stage of an advertising transaction complies with Europe’s main data privacy rule, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It will also look into Google’s transparency and its data minimization and retention practices, according to a statement from the Commission. One of the complaints that triggered the probe was filed by rival browser Brave, which argued that people’s data is, without their knowledge, broadcast to entities bidding for advertisements. The chief policy officer of Brave, Johnny Ryan, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, urging U.S. lawmakers to adopt some version of GDPR.