GOOGLE’S location tracking technology could see the company facing GDPR breach action from seven different countries.
A consortium of consumer groups from across Europe have banded together under the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) lobby group to add teeth to recent US action over Google’s “it’s off, but it’s actually on” approach to tracking the location of Android and Chrome powered devices.
The Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden have filed complaints with their native regulators, and are hoping to use their combined weight to force Google into action.
The complaints stem from the use of the Location Tracking and Web and App Activity menus within Android, which they argue are misleading. Certainly, turning off ‘Location Tracking’ doesn’t stop Google from being able to track your movements, and in fact, there’s already a case regarding this in the US.
Research from Norway concludes that Google is deliberately misleading people into keeping the tracking feature switched on.
“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,” said a BEUC in a statement.
Google is already in the doghouse with the EU over its competitive practices, so it’s unlikely that empathy or clemency is going to be granted.
Speaking to Reuters, Google countered: “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.”
If Google is found to be in breach of GDPR laws, now in their sixth glorious month, they can be fined up to four per cent of their global revenue. μ
Source : Inquirer