European groups accuse Google of manipulation to track users

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

The complaints cite 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 charges 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 are filed in the Czech Republic, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden.

They are based on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect in May.

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

“For users of mobile phones with Android (operating systems), such as Samsung and Huawei phones, this tracking is particularly difficult to avoid,” the Norwegian council notes.

According to the internet site Statcounter, almost 70 percent of European mobile phones run on the Android system.

AFP

A man walks past a building on the Google campus in Mountain View, California, November 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

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