Google attacked by EU consumer groups over location tracking

Seven European consumer groups filed complaints against Google with national regulators on Tuesday, accusing the internet giant of covertly tracking users’ movements in violation of an EU regulation on data protection. 

The complaints cited a study by the Norwegian Consumer Council that concluded the Internet giant used “deceptive design and misleading information, which results in users accepting to be constantly tracked.” 

Council official Gro Mette Moen charged that “Google uses extremely detailed and comprehensive personal data without an appropriate judicial basis, and the data is acquired by means of manipulative techniques.” 

Complaints against Google were filed in the Czech Republic, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden.

 Google is accused of tracking users’ movements via its Location History and Web & App Activity applications, which are built into all Google accounts. 

“Constant location tracking and aggregation of location data over time can be used to build very detailed profiles of individuals and to infer religious beliefs, political leanings, and sexual orientation, among other things,” it added. 

Monique Goyens, director general of The European Consumer Organisation said: “Google’s data hunger is notorious but the scale with which it deceives its users to track and monetise their every move is breathtaking.Smartphones are being used for spying on our every move.”

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