EU consumer organizations want to tackle Google’s ‘surveillance system’ –

EU consumer organizations want to tackle Google's 'surveillance system' -

Ten consumer organizations coordinated by the European Union of Consumers (BEUC) accused Google of unfairly forcing consumers to create a Google Account, thereby allowing the company to collect large amounts of personal data.

They claim that Google does not allow consumers to protect their privacy, which amounts to an unfair commercial practice, as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation requires users to protect their privacy by default and by default.

The complaint is the latest in a growing series of consumer organizations taking a more active role in GDPR enforcement through consumer advocacy complaints. The most notable recent cases include WhatsApp and TikTok.

“All it takes is a simple swipe to let Google monitor and exploit everything you do. If you want privacy-friendly settings, you have to navigate through a lengthy process and confusing and confusing options.BEUC Deputy Director General Ursula Patchell said.

The complaint points out that consumers are required to create a Google account when purchasing a smartphone equipped with the Android operating system, which is used by 70% of smartphones worldwide.

“We know consumer trust depends on honesty and transparency – that’s why we’ve built our future success on building simpler, more accessible regulations, giving people clearer choices. And, importantly, doing more with less data.A Google spokesperson told EURACTIV.

Users can choose “Express Customization” With a single click on account creation, as customer advocates call it “Constant Observation”. Time to decline “Manual Customization”Users must go through five steps (and ten clicks).

For BEUC and its members, the information provided under this membership manual is vague, incomplete and misleading, leaving consumers with choices without a transparent understanding of how their personal data will be processed.

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Furthermore, Google presents the less privacy-intrusive option as a lack of benefits, thereby preventing consumers from making free and informed choices. Google Accounts allow users to be tracked across all Google services, including Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps; Hence, the registration process is critical to the functioning of the business.

Google rejects allegations that the options offered are unclear, arguing that they were designed based on extensive research and feedback from the website’s testers.

Google specifically notes that its approach is in line with guidance from the European Data Protection Board, which brings together all EU data protection authorities. This guidance suggests that a tiered approach that provides granular information is appropriate to inform users in an accurate and understandable manner.

“We welcome the opportunity to engage with European consumer advocates and regulators on this important issue. People should be able to understand how data is generated from their use of Internet services. If they don’t like it, they should be able to fix it.added a Google representative.

Grievance Management

National consumer associations filed complaints with data protection authorities in the Czech Republic, France, Norway, Greece and Slovenia. In Germany, Google has been sent a warning letter, which could be the first step towards legal action.

Consumer groups in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands sent a letter to their national authorities warning of Google’s actions. Similarly, US consumer advocates from the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue have prepared to write to the Federal Trade Commission.

Under the GDPR, data protection watchdogs are required to submit the case to the competent authority in Ireland, as Google’s European headquarters are in that country.

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Google was the target of a series of complaints in 2018 over how the tech giant tracks customer data, but lead authority Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner has yet to issue a decision on the case.

“This case is of strategic importance, for which the European Data Protection Board should privilege and support cooperation between EU data protection authorities.”Underlined by Mrs Pachl from BEUC.

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