Consumer groups from seven EU countries want regulators to take action against Google for the allegations that the tracking of the movement of the company’s user base is against privacy law. Google is already at court in the United States over allegedly allowing tracking on the phones regardless of privacy status. The complaints were based on research done in Norway and came from the Czech Republic, Greece, Sweden, Poland and other countries.
The European Consumer Organization (BEUC), a consumer lobby group, says that the American tech giant uses various tools to make users enable the settings ‘location history’ and ‘web and app activity’, which are an integral part of all Google user accounts. “These unfair practices leave consumers in the dark about the use of their personal data,” BEUC, speaking on behalf of the complaining countries’ consumer organizations, commented. “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,” the consumer lobby further stated.
GDPR, a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU and the European Economic Area, can fine companies of up to 4 percent of their global revenues for a breach in rules. Google disagrees with the accusations, saying that location history is turned off by default, and one can always edit, delete, or pause it. “If it’s on, it helps improve services like predicted traffic on your commute,” a spokesperson added. “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.”