Google, among other tech companies, has not exactly managed to steer clear of the scrutiny from different regulators worldwide. Particularly, the European Union has imposed hefty fines on the tech giant against antitrust allegations and privacy-related mandates. And the European regulator may be planning to crack down further on Google. At least five consumer protection agencies in Europe have claimed that Google is violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when it on-boards a new user. Also Read - Lost your Android phone? Here’s how you can find it
European Consumer Organisation, a representative organisation of the European Union’s consumer protection agencies, said that the authorities from five-member nations have complained formally to the European Commission against Google, claiming that its sign-up process is in violation of the GDPR. Some of the union’s participating agencies have also alerted regulators of other nations, such as the United States’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC), about Google’s practices. Also Read - How to remove your Google account access from third-party apps: Follow these simple steps
What are the allegations?
Allegations against Google include the “accept all” option, which shows up when a user potentially signs up to give them an outlay of all the permissions and settings related to how their data would be collected once they become a user of Google’s services, but not a “deny all” option. The lack of that option, authorities have alleged, is an attempt to obscure information about how data will be processed if the user chooses not to sign up. The descriptions on the company website are non-specific and do not exactly explain why and how Google integrates user data. Also Read - How to remove Google Account from PC, browser permanently
The data collection policies of Google apply to all its services, such as Gmail, Maps, and Play Store, among others. So no matter what service a user potentially signs up for, Google makes it hard for them to understand what would happen to their data and why. The bottom line is that Google’s lack of a “deny all” option makes it hard for the user to say “no” to the company’s data collection and processing policies.
Google also faces allegations, such as violating a number of GDPR articles, one of which involves the company’s practice of processing data more than necessary for giving users access to its services and storing that data for a longer time. The BEUC has even called Google the foremost proprietor of “surveillance capitalism.”
The allegations are potentially being considered by the European Commission, and once they are substantiated with ample proof and testimonies, another missive involving a hefty fine could be coming Google’s way.