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The Dutch Mass Claim & Consumer Foundation asserts that Google knows much more about Android users than the company lets on. Through a lawsuit, the foundation hopes to bring about fundamental changes in how the OS operates.

While numerous phone vendors use Android, Google is its main operator and beneficiary. The platform is highly lucrative for the company through the Play Store, its search feature, and advertising revenue. Google Play Services, supposedly intended to ensure the security and reliability of Android systems, is the main stumbling block for the foundation.

Data collection investigation

The foundation accuses Google of violating the GDPR. This EU legislation, in force since 2018, limits the extent to which companies can collect data from users and requires. Between 2022 and 2024, researchers bought multiple Android phones to capture network traffic on a Dutch server. Normally, this data is not viewable by the end user but ends up on European Google servers. After decrypting the data, the research team discovered that Google can measure app usage on a large scale.

This allows Google to learn a lot of information from users. Examples include data about the type of food ordered by someone to the length of their phone calls. If a user deploys the Gboard keyboard, Google can also see who both callers are.

“Speculative and opportunistic”

Google refutes the allegations, stating they are “speculative and opportunistic.” The company has spotted a similarity to previously mounted Dutch mass claims against TikTok and Airbnb, which, too, are supposedly not worth pursuing. The Google spokesman argues that a “misleading picture” is being painted of “how Android and our other systems work.”

Also read: Oracle faces mass claim over alleged privacy violations