A group of consumer agencies in seven European countries has filed a privacy complaint against Google for allegedly tracking the location of millions of web users.
The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), an European consumer organization which has seven members- the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Slovenia, Sweden, and Norway claims that Google’s “deceptive practices” of location tracking don’t take users permission to enable it or not, and the company fails to inform its users about tracking policies.
A research conducted by a Norway‘s consumer group, Forbrukerrådet revealed that Google is violating European Union’s new data protection framework, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), if the complaint is upheld, then it could mean a hefty fine for the search giant.
According to BEUC, by hook or crook Google enable the settings ‘location history’ and ‘web and app activity’ on users devices which are integrated into all Google user accounts.
“These unfair practices leave consumers in the dark about the use of their personal data,” BEUC official, said.
“These practices are not compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as Google lacks a valid legal ground for processing the data in question. In particular, the report shows that users’ consent provided under these circumstances is not freely given,” it said.
Responding on the consumer groups’ complaints, a Google spokesman said: “Location History is turned off by default, and you can edit, delete, or pause it at any time. If it’s on, it helps improve services like predicted traffic on your commute.”
“If you pause it, we make clear that — depending on your individual phone and app settings — we might still collect and use location data to improve your Google experience.”
“We’re constantly working to improve our controls, and we’ll be reading this report closely to see if there are things we can take on board,” he said.