Google accused of manipulation to "spy" users


Seven European consumer organizations seized on Tuesday national regulators accusing Google of manipulating their users to "spy on" their movements, violating the new data protection rules (GDPR), the European Bureau of Consumer Unions (BEUC) announced. ).

The complaint lodged in Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Greece, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Sweden is based on a study by the Norwegian Consumer Organization which concludes that the US giant "uses misleading design and information that leads users to agree to be constantly monitored. "

"Google processes extremely detailed and exhaustive personal data without the appropriate legal basis, and data is acquired through manipulation techniques," said Gro Mette Moen, a senior official with the Norwegian organization.

He is criticized for tracking his users through the "Location History" and "Web Apps and Activity" settings built into all Google Accounts.
"Location data can reveal a lot about a person: his movements in real time, the places he frequents regularly, his daily routines, his interests, etc.," the Norwegian organization notes in its complaint. "Constant monitoring of localization and aggregation of location data over time can be used to draw very detailed portraits of individuals and to deduce their religious beliefs, political inclinations and sexual orientation, among other things," he said. she.

The organization is requesting an investigation, an injunction to prevent Google's "illegal" practices and a "dissuasive" fine against the group.

According to the Norwegian study, this permanent monitoring is particularly difficult to avoid with the Android operating system, which, according to the Statcounter website, equips almost 70% of the handsets (Samsung, Huawei) in Europe.

"The Google headquarters for data is well known, but to what extent it tricks users to follow them and make money is scary," said BEUC director Monique Goyens. "The situation is more than alarming: smartphones are used to spy on every move." "This secret spinning has to stop," also called the Dutch consumer association Consumentenbond.

Google responded by saying "working constantly to improve your controls". "Location History is off by default, and you can edit, delete, or pause at any time, and if it's on, it helps improve services like traffic predictions on your way." replied the Californian group. "If you pause, we'll be clear – depending on your individual phone and settings – that we can always collect and use location data to improve your Google experience," he added.

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