In brief

  • Crypto friendly browser Brave claims that Google violates the GDPR.
  • The GDPR is Europe's data protection law.
  • It's lodged a formal complaint with authorities.

Crypto friendly browser Brave today filed a formal complaint against its competitor, Google, the latest in a several years-long campaign to topple the tech giant’s hegemony. 

Brave, which has offices in San Francisco and London, claims that Google has infringed upon Europe’s foremost data protection law, the GDPR. According to Brave Chief Policy Officer Dr. Johnny Ryan, enforcement of the complaint “would be tantamount to a functional separation of Google’s business.” (This is good for Brave.)

Where Google’s advertising technology collects excessive information about its users, Brave’s browsera fork of the Google Chromium projectdoesn’t track cookies by default. Brave claims its technology serves ads without breaching personal information. In addition, Brave’s users can earn crypto for watching advertisements, in the form of Basic Attention Tokens (BAT).

Brave argues that Google has violated the “purpose limitation” principle, which requires organizations to only use data for a specific purpose. For example, collecting information about your whereabouts on Google Fit must only be used to encourage you to exercise more.

Google, according to evidence released by Brave today, has an “internal data free-for-all,” where it “reuses our personal data between its businesses and products in bewildering ways that infringe the purpose limitation principle.”

The official complaint is Brave’s most recent against Google. On February 12, it sent a letter to the UK Competition & Markets Authority arguing that its failure to enforce the GDPR facilitated Google’s monopoly. 

A week prior, it produced evidence that showed how websites of over 400 UK councils let at least one private company to track visitors and mine their browsing activity for profit.

In September 2019, it pushed a report that alleged that Google is using hidden web pages that send personal information to advertisers, violating its own privacy policies.

Brave has been waging war against Google ever since it first launched in 2015. If authorities force Google to change tack, competitors such as Brave could be poised to benefit from the fallout.