The European Consumer agencies are standing up against the Google tracking. On November 27 they filed complaints with their respective national data protection authorities, based on research by their Norwegian counterpart. Consumer agencies in the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden demand that privacy regulators take actions against Google for allegedly tracking the movements of millions of users in breach with the GDPR. The agencies further state that Google uses various methods to encourage users to enable the settings ‘location history’ and ‘web and app activity’ which are integrated into all Google user accounts. Of course, the use of this data and the reason for its collection are unclear for both the regulators and the data subjects.
The acts on Google’s part are in contradiction with the requirements of the GDPR, as Google lacks a valid legal ground for processing such kind of location data. The report further proves that the consent of the users is far from freely given.
Google spokesman defended the wicked practice by saying that: “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”
At the same time, Google already faces a lawsuit in the United States for allegedly tracking phone users regardless of their privacy settings.