An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The online behavioral advertising industry is illegally profiling internet users. That’s the damning assessment of the U.K.’s data protection regulator in an update report published today, in which it sets out major concerns about the programmatic advertising process known as real-time bidding (RTB), which makes up a large chunk of online advertising. In what sounds like a knock-out blow for highly invasive data-driven ads, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) concludes that systematic profiling of web users via invasive tracking technologies such as cookies is in breach of U.K. and pan-EU privacy laws. The U.K. watchdog has not yet issued a formal legal decision against RTB. But with this report it’s giving the industry a clear signal that practices must change.