YouTube Faces Spying Charges In Europe

A privacy consultant is filing criminal charges against YouTube in Europe for scripts that detect and restrict ad blockers on the platform. The consultant, Alexander Hanff, alleges that these scripts amount to spying on EU citizens.

Hanff has filed a complaint with Irish police, alleging that YouTube’s scripts are unlawful under Ireland’s computer abuse law. He has also filed a civil complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commission.

“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),” Hanff said.

Hanff says he chose to go down the criminal complaint route because EU regulators have been historically ineffective at enforcing the ePrivacy Directive. He argues that under EU law, consent is necessary for running any non-necessary interactions, including the scripts YouTube runs to detect ad blockers.

“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,” Hanff noted in his statement.

YouTube recently made a policy to block ad blockers on the platform globally. Users who fail to comply have also found themselves locked out of the platform.

Hanff hopes his criminal complaint sends a strong message to Google that it needs to end its surveillance practices that go against EU law. He believes that directors, managers, and other officers who willfully cause such an offense to be committed could also be held liable.

Information for this briefing was found via Android Authority and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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