Earlier this month, YouTube’s fight against ad blockers went into full swing as the platform started blocking ad blockers worldwide and giving users the choice to sign up for Premium. It now appears that this practice has landed the video streaming service in hot waters as a privacy consultant is bringing criminal charges against the platform in Europe.
YouTube could find itself in some serious trouble in the EU following the latest complaints
According to a report, Alexander Hanff is filing a complaint against YouTube under Ireland’s computer abuse law. Hanff claims that he has notified Ireland’s National Police about giving a statement concerning the said criminal complaint. The police have acknowledged his complainant and have asked for more information on the matter.
Hanff talks about how YouTube is responsible for running unlawful tracking scripts that help the platform detect ad blockers, and this practice means that the streaming is spying on EU citizens. In addition to the spying charges, Hanff has also filed a civil complaint against YouTube’s browser interrogation system that is responsible for detecting ad blockers with the Irish Data Protection Commission. The authorities are already going after Google for answers to the claim made against the video streaming platform.
“I consider YouTube’s script to be spyware — aka surveillance technology, as it is deployed without my knowledge or authorization to my device for the sole purpose of intercepting and monitoring my behavior (whether or not ads load in my browser or are blocked by an ad blocker),” he told The Register.
“I chose to go down the criminal complaint route because historically, EU regulators have been absolutely terrible at enforcing the ePrivacy Directive — and I mean really bad, I would argue even negligent.”
The hope that Hanff has is that this criminal complaint will send a message to YouTube and make Google stop its surveillance practice that goes against EU law. He talks about how consent is important for running any non-necessary interactions, and the platform hasn’t sought any consent from the citizens.
“Additionally, the Irish law I am using holds directors, managers, or other officers who willfully cause such an offense to be committed liable of the same offense and are not shielded by the legal entity they work for,” he mentioned.
This is a developing story, as we are not aware of how YouTube or Google will respond to this, but if this gets more traction and the Irish government agrees with Hanff, then we will have a lot more to uncover in the coming weeks. We will keep you posted.
News Source: The Register