A number of European consumer associations had filed a complaint against Google. The company would use manipulative techniques to track the location of web users and use them to better target ads. It seems to be a new GDPR complaint that the Internet giant will have to deal with.

Consumer associations are currently preparing a complaint under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This new EU legislation regulates the way in which businesses deal with consumer data and the rights of consumers. Fines can amount to up to four percent of companies’ worldwide annual turnover.

Know everything

Under the GDPR, companies may only process personal data if there is clear, well-informed and voluntary consent to do so. In their complaint, the consumer associations claim that Google has not been given clear permission to do so. Google collects the location of users through two settings in all Google accounts: location history and web & app activity. Especially for Android smartphone users, it is difficult to disable these things.

Google processes incredibly detailed and extensive personal data without having the appropriate legal basis, and collects the data by manipulating people, says Gro Mette Moen, interim director of the Norwegian Consumer Service. But it goes on:

When we have our phone with us, Google picks up where we’re going, accurately to the depths and the way we move. This can be combined with other information about us, such as what we are looking for and which websites we visit. It can use such information to target advertising at times when we are most accessible or vulnerable to it.

In your own hand

Google claims against the TechCrunch site that the location history is off by default. When enabled, it helps to improve services such as traffic forecasting. If you pause it temporarily, we’ll make it clear that – depending on your individual phone and app settings – we may still collect and use location data to improve your Google experience.

It is not the only GDPR-related complaint that Google is currently dealing with. The company already had to deal with a consumer organization in May that indicated that Google does not give users a choice when it comes to the collection and processing of personal data.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.