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Google Accused By Rival Of GDPR Breaches

 |  March 16, 2020

Google is sharing users’ personal data between its services without acquiring specific consent to do so, thus flagrantly breaching fundamental principles of European data protection law, one of its smaller rivals has claimed.

In a new complaint submitted to the Irish data regulator, which oversees Google’s European business, Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer of the niche web browser Brave, accused the US tech company of operating an “internal data-free-for-all,” reported The Financial Times. 

The complaint alleges that Google is taking users’ consent for certain uses of their personal data, for instance location tracking or YouTube history, and applying it to a range of other services that are completely invisible to them, a practice that is illegal under the General Data Protection Regulation. 

In one example cited, Google’s privacy policy states that “Location History saves where you go with your devices. This data is saved even when you aren’t using a specific Google service, such as Google Maps or Search . . . This data may be saved and used in any Google service where you are signed in [and] . . . helps Google give you more personalised experiences . . . both on and off Google.”

The notice appears to seek the user’s consent to process their location data, according to the complaint, but also indicates that such data may be used for various unknown purposes that could have nothing to do with location. It also suggests “extensive or minor data sharing with an unknowable number of Google’s business partners,” the complaint claims. 

The submission to the regulator also includes a document titled “Inside the Black Box,” which itemizes evidence of Google’s “hundreds of publicly available processing purposes,” according to Mr Ryan, which range from advertising to analytics. “These repeated allegations from a commercial competitor don’t stand up to serious scrutiny,” said a Google spokesperson. 

“Twenty million users visit their Google Accounts each day to make choices about how Google processes their data. Our privacy policy and the explanations we provide users are clear about how data is stored and the choices users have.”

Full Content: Financial Times

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