Google accused of allowing a sanctioned Russian ad firm to collect user data for months

ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization focused on investigating rights abuses, has recently slammed Google for allowing a sanctioned Russian ad firm to collect user data for months. The internet giant may have provided Sberbank-owned TuTarget with unique cell phone IDs, IP addresses, geographic locations, and details about users’ interests and online activities.

In February this year, the day after the Russian-Ukrainian conflict broke out, the chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, sent a letter to the online advertising giant Google, warning it to beware of being used by Russian-affiliated entities, and calling for advertising companies to comply with economic sanctions. Expand the audit.

However, one copy is provided to ProPublica states that as recently as June 23, Google was sharing potentially sensitive user data with a sanctioned advertising company owned by a major Russian state-owned bank. Analytics, a digital advertising analytics company to access personal website browsing and application data stored in Ukraine and other parts of the world, a study by

After the company was placed on the Entity List by the U.S. Treasury Department on Feb. 24, Analytics found nearly 700 instances of RuTarget receiving user data from Google, only to react and cut off on June 23.

RuTarget also operates under the Segmento name, but the Treasury Department says the economic sanctions against the bank are particularly important. Ultimately, many Russian entities and individuals, including RuTarget, were included in the Treasury Department’s April 6 sanctions announcement.

Even more worrisome, analysis shows that Google shared data with RuTarget about users browsing Ukrainian websites — meaning the online advertising giant may have handed over mobile IDs, IP addresses, geographic locations, and unique information about interests User data.

U.S. senators and experts have warned that the data could be used by Russia’s military and intelligence services to track people. Google spokesman Michael Aciman argued that the company blocked RuTarget from using its advertising product in March.

And since then, RuTarget has not bought advertising directly through Google. He also acknowledged, however, that the Russian company was still receiving user advertising data from Google before the warnings from ProPublica and Analytics.

Michael Aciman added: “Google is committed to complying with all applicable sanctions and compliance trade laws, and we have reviewed the relevant entities and taken appropriate action well beyond the efforts to prevent them from directly using Google advertising products at the beginning of the year.

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