Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) subsidiary Google is facing fresh trouble over GDPR with consumer groups in seven countries threatening to file complaints against the search giant over its location-tracking methods.
The consumer advocacy groups, located in countries including Sweden, Norway, Poland and the Netherlands, have accused Google of using tricky methods to collect data from users that reveal sensitive matters about them such as location and even political preferences.
It is said that although Google provides its users with various options to control their location data, the company can still collect this data from other settings in the users’ devices. Google reportedly suggests that turning on certain options can help improve services.
The consumer groups claim that Google not only collects large amounts of data but it does so in an unfair manner, which violates fundamental rules that require it to use such data in a fair and transparent way. The groups plan to file complaints with their respective national authorities.
The groups believe that the methods used by Google are such that users do not know what they are opting for and remain unaware about how their data is collected and used. This means that the consent of the users was not obtained properly and as Google does not have any concrete reasons for the collection or use of such data, it violates GDPR policies.
The violation of the GDPR rules entails hefty penalties which could amount to as much as 4% of a company’s global revenues. Google is facing another lawsuit in the US for tracking the location of users even when the option was turned off.
Google has multiple lawsuits pending against it and the fines are estimated to run into billions of dollars. This might hit the company’s earnings and also impact the stock. Google’s parent Alphabet, along with its peers, faced a bear market last week and the company lost more than $160 billion in market value.
The stock has recovered since then and was up 2% over the past week. As of 12:45 pm ET, the stock is up 0.18%.
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