European consumer groups accused Googleof violating online privacy by convincing users to sign in blindly to a Google account, so that their data can be tracked and exploited for profit.
The European Union’s consumer rights organizations filed privacy complaints against Google last week. According to the complaint, Google deliberately designed default settings in order to mislead users and allow them to collect and share large amounts of personal data.
These claims were made under the EU GDPR regulations, which are a European privacy regulation that seeks to protect the personal data of Europeans. The group also accuses Google, among others, of using “deceptive designs, unclear language and misleading choices” during the registration process.
Google Registration Process: Complaint
Ursula Pachl (deputy director of BEUC) stated that contrary to the claims of Google about consumer privacy, millions of Europeans were placed on the fast track for surveillance after they opened a Google Account. It is too difficult for BEUC members and their members to personalize their registration. They have to go through 5 steps and 10 clicks in order to complete a manual registration. This should make it easier for users to understand what data they are sharing. The information included in this manual registration is not clear, so consumers are left to make their own decisions without knowing how their personal data will ultimately be used.
Google is accused of not providing an option to disable tracking. The entire process is described as opaque and sleazy, and is used only for Google’s benefit. Google maintains that it “protects privacy”. Google strongly refutes the claim that the options are not clear. It points out that they were created based on extensive research, feedback from site testers, and was therefore clearly unambiguous.