Privacy watchdog condemns Regulator’s lack of action 

Responding to the ICO’s report on Adtech, detailing continued unlawfulness with no deadline for change, the Executive Director of the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, said: 

“The ICO has investigated, reported twice and explained repeatedly that the Google and the IAB-led adtech industry are in massive breach of the law.

“Billions of pieces of personal information are shared without meaningful security or consent. Yet we have seen no actual enforcement action. 

“The ICO cannot delay and prevaricate indefinitely. Each time it swerves away from action, it is sending the signal that data protection laws are optional, negotiable, and ultimately of secondary importance even to the regulator.

“We need better than that.”

Jim Killock and Michael Veale have challenged the ICO’s inaction at a case at the Tribunal, specifically for claiming their complaint had been resolved, while the unlawful activity continues. A decision is expected shortly.



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1 The ICO has not yet enforced against the Adtech industry and “Real Time Bidding”, including Google, which it stated in its report in 2019 was unlawful and breaching GDPR rights for millions of UK citizens. The ICO’s investigation concluded that:

  • Adtech companies collect and share people’s browsing histories but have no practical control where this information ends up
  • Given this astounding lack of basic security, other rights such as consent access to data are unobtainable
  • That the industry relies on spurious legal arguments to justify widespread poor practice

2 The ICO’s new report is available from

3 The decision of the Upper Tribunal is expected to be made public in the coming days. See