Google is in the limelight again and this time it is for wrong reasons as it has been accused of flouting data protection laws of Europe for tracking the location of its users. An association of seven consumer organizations has filed complaints with their respective local data regulators about Google’s latest data tracking systems that is based on the research of one of its members which alleged that people are being forced to use its location search system. Google reiterated by stating that tracking by default is turned off and can be paused or switched on by users whenever they required.
The group alleged that Google used tricky practices to ensure that people turn on its varied tracking systems and it did not give consent freely. They also charged Google with not giving straightforward details about what surrendering data entailed. It expressed concern that tracking location data was an unfair practice that could give the company detailed insight about users’ lifestyle along with details of their religious orientation, political activity, health condition and sexual orientation. These organizations based in Poland, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Greece are together planning to file complaints under General Data Protection Regulation.
These seven organizations are all members of BEUC which is an umbrella group representing lobbies for consumer advocacy groups in Europe. In defense, Google insisted that location history by default is turned off and users can edit, delete or pause it any time they want. When it is switched on it helps in providing services like traffic conditions in the commute region and when users paused the tracking they are informed that Google may still collect data about where the individual was going depending on their phone and application settings. The internet search major affirmed that their team would read the report closely to find out if some of the suggested ideas can be adopted as its is constantly working to improve itself.