European Privacy Regulators Scrutinize Online Ad Targeting

Privacy regulators in Europe are beginning to scrutinize a process known as “real-time bidding,” through which tens of billions of dollars flow from advertisers annually around the world. The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office, the country’s data-protection authority, said real-time ad auctions violate the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect last year. Such auctions involve the collection and distribution of sensitive information about users — including race, sexuality, health status or political leaning — without their explicit consent, the regulator said in a report last month.