US tech company Quantcast to face Irish data privacy investigation

Data Protection Commissioner currently investigating 17 technology companies

US digital advertising company Quantcast has became the latest technology firm to be investigated by the Data Protection Commissioner.

The Republic hosts the European headquarters of a number of US technology firms, making the Irish commissioner the lead regulator in the European Union under its General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) “One Stop Shop” regime introduced last year.

The new rules give regulators the power to impose fines for violations of up to 4 per cent of a company’s global revenue or €20 million, whichever is higher.

The head of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), Helen Dixon, told a US Senate committee on Wednesday that her office had 51 large-scale investigations under way, 17 of which relate to large technology platforms.


The investigations spanned the services of Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, she said, adding that the first sets of investigations will conclude over the summer.

The regulator said in February that it had opened seven statutory inquiries alone into Facebook and three more into Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp. It informed the social media giant of another inquiry last week.


San Francisco-based online measurement and advertising firm Quantcast, which established its European operations centre in Dublin in 2013, will have its transparency and retention practices examined as part of the investigation, the DPC said.

“Since the application of the GDPR significant concerns have been raised by individuals and privacy advocates concerning the conduct of technology companies operating in the online advertising sector and their compliance with the GDPR,” it said in a statement.

“The purpose of the inquiry is to establish whether the company’s processing and aggregating of personal data for the purposes of profiling and utilising the profiles generated for targeted advertising is in compliance with the relevant provisions of the GDPR.”

Quantcast said in a statement that it was reviewing the details of commissioner’s inquiry and would cooperate fully with any investigation.

– Reuters