Google has been caught afoul of Canadian law by displaying web ads linked to a person’s health history, Canada’s interim privacy commissioner says.
Chantal Bernier backed up a man’s complaints that he was seeing so-called behavioral advertisements based on his web browsing history. After searching for information about devices to treat sleep apnea, he began to see ads for those devices. Privacy law does not allow consumers to be targeted based on “sensitive personal information,” including a person’s health.
Google said in a statement Wednesday it will upgrade the system that reviews ads for compliance, increase monitoring of ads and provide more information to advertisers and staff about the rules. It will implement these steps by June. Bernier says she is pleased with Google’s actions.