Consumer associations from five European countries, including France, have filed a complaint against Google with national personal data protection authorities, announced the European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions (BEUC).
New complaints in Europe against Google
These organizations (also present in Greece, Norway, the Czech Republic and Slovenia) accuse Google of inciting users to allow extensive and invasive processing of their personal data when creating their account, in violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) European. The associations of three other countries (Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden) have written about this to their national regulators, and the German organization VZBV has sent a warning letter to Google, according to BEUC.
When creating a Google account, “A single step is all it takes to authorize Google to monitor and exploit everything you do. If you want to take advantage of the privacy-first settings, you face a long process and unclear and confusing options”denounced Ursula Pachl, the Deputy Director General of BEUC. “Privacy should be the default and easiest choice for consumers”she insisted.
BEUC points out that consumers are sometimes obliged to create a Google account, for example when they buy an Android smartphone, which affects nearly 7 out of 10 devices worldwide, if they want to download applications from the Google Play Store.
For its part, the French association UFC-Que Choisir indicated that, like its European counterparts, it “received numerous reports attesting to breaches” of Google to the application of the RGPD and transmitted the complaint of a user to the Commission Informatique et Libertés (CNIL).
Google says to be in good standing
Conversely, Google ensures that the options offered to users when they create an account “are clearly described and easy to understand”. “We have developed them based on the results of extensive research, and according to the guidelines of data protection authorities, as well as feedback from user tests”said a spokesperson. “We are committed to making these choices simple and clear”he added.
In France, Google was sentenced a few months ago by the CNIL, the data protection policeman, to a fine of 150 million euros for its cookie practices.