A privacy advisor is set to take legal action against YouTube in Europe. Alexander Hanff plans to file criminal charges against the streaming platform, accusing it of using unauthorized tracking scripts to detect and limit the use of ad blockers. Hanff claims that this activity is a form of unauthorized surveillance of EU citizens and has also lodged a civil complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commission.
Hanff is not only targeting YouTube, but also Meta, claiming that the company has been illegally intercepting data transmissions to monitor his behavior over the past 5 years. The privacy advisor has chosen to pursue criminal charges because of what he perceives as a lack of enforcement of the ePrivacy Directive by EU regulators.
This legal action comes at a time when the EU is implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to hold big digital players accountable and ensure fair competition. In response to the DMA, Meta has already rolled out an ad-free paid subscription in the EU, as demanded by the EU for users who prefer an ad-free feed. Apple is also gearing up to adjust its App Store policies in line with the DMA, opening up its ecosystem to competition.
The Irish Data Protection Commission has reached out to Google for their response to Hanff’s claims, and the outcome of this legal action could have a significant impact on the way big tech companies operate in Europe. As companies like YouTube and Meta face scrutiny over their data practices, the DMA is pushing for more transparency and fair treatment of users in the digital market. This legal battle could mark a turning point in how tech giants handle user privacy and competition in the EU.