FORTUNE: Google and Ad Industry Accused of “Massive” Abuse of Intimate Personal Data

“Last September, a coalition of privacy activists and browser-makers targeted Google and the advertising technology industry with complaints about ‘a massive and ongoing data breach that affects virtually every user on the web’ — the broadcasting of people’s personal data to dozens of companies, without proper security.

“Now, on International Privacy Day, they’ve released new evidence showing this data includes information about people’s ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation and more. The data is so sensitive that it even allows advertisers to specifically target incest and abuse victims, or those with eating disorders.

“How does this information get shared? The online ad industry often uses a technique called behavioral advertising, which basically means they track you around the web and build a profile based on what you look at. When you then visit a webpage that runs behavioral ads, there’s often an automated auction with the winner getting to show you an ad that supposedly matches your profile.”

David Meyer, Contributor for Fortune

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