EU Consumer Groups Accuse Google Of Breaking Privacy Laws by Covertly Tracking Users


Watching your every move – picture: http://dericbownds.net/uploaded_images/google.gif

It seems we at The Daily Stirrer have been on Google’s case forever over their dishonesty, cavalier attitude to users right to privacy, their role as self – appointed censor of all internet content that does not conform to the politically correct pensée unique of Silicon Valley, and apparent belief that along with other internet tech corporations they are above the law. Well as long as Google keep up their world domination corporate policy, we will report their malfeasance.

European Union consumer groups from many member states have are trying to bring charges of further breaches of EU consumer protection laws against tech giant Google. The plaintiffs claim Google is covertly tracking user’s movements in ways not made clear in the terms of service.

Seven different consumer groups in EU member states have filed complaints against Google with national regulators this week in the Czech Republic, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden. The complaints all claim that the search and advertising firm is in violation of GDPR privacy laws because it tracks users movements. The complaints cite a study by the Norwegian Consumer Council which is claimed to prove that Google used “deceptive design and misleading information, which results in users accepting to be constantly tracked,” Phys.org reports.

Gro Mette Moen of the Norwegian Consumer Council said that “Google uses extremely detailed and comprehensive personal data without an appropriate judicial basis, and the data is acquired by means of manipulative techniques.” The consumer groups allege that Google is using technology that tracks users movements via their Location History and App Activity monitoring applications, all of which are linked to every users’ Google account.

The Norwegian study noted: “For users of mobile phones with Android (operating systems), such as Samsung and Huawei phones, this tracking is particularly difficult to avoid. Due to the wide use of the Google Android mobile operating system across Europe, with almost 70 percent of mobile phones in Europe running on the system, Google can use location tracking to gain a large amount of information on users.”

“Constant location tracking and analysis of location data over time may be used to create a very detailed profile of an individual’s work and social movements and to infer religious beliefs, political leanings, and sexual orientation, among other things,” the Norwegian council concluded.

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

Now the people who have called me a dinosaur because I refuse to have a smartphone might understand my attitude. I had a long career in Information Tevhnology and so I understand what they do and how. I also understand that it is more difficult for Android users to avoid Google tracking that for a Linux or Windows user on a PC.

As one would anticipate, Google responded to these claims by denying culpability: “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.”

Unfortunately it is widely known, and very easy to demonstrate that Google location tracking is not exactly ‘off’ when the Location History setting shows ‘off.’ Google have been caught in similar lies and deceptions many times in their twenty year life, in fact it is probably fair to say the Search Engine’s owners have been involved in more scandals per annum than any other company in the western world. but like so many other Silicon Valley upstarts, the senior management seem to think technology companies are above the law.

Google was recently fined 2.42 billion euro (2.72 billion U.S. dollars) by E.U. officials for breaching net neutrality rules with the company’s online shopping service by promoting search results for their own shopping sites above those of competitors. The ruling stated that Google was exploiting its market dominance in online searches, if it is found that Google has once again breached EU privacy laws the company could face more harsh fines and may even face being broken up into separate companies in the EU. President Trump has made a similar threat to the US operation though whether he is capable of making it happen is a different story.

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