Tech titans Facebook and Google had already been sued under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force yesterday.
Privacy campaign group Noyb issued lawsuits yesterday against Google, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram over “forced consent”.
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Noyb filed a claim against Google relating to its Android operating system with French authorities, a complaint against Instagram with Belgian authorities, a complaint against WhatsApp in Germany and a suit against Facebook in Austria.
The potential maximum penalties for companies found in breach is severe, standing at four per cent of global revenue which for Facebook and Google would easily stretching into billions of dollars.
Noyb argued that the new regulations prohibit forced consent, where a user is only able to access the service if they consent for their data to be used.
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It said that the GDPR allows for data processing that is necessary for use of the service but that using data for advertising or to sell onto third parties requires the users opt-in consent.
Noyb also said it hoped that the lawsuit will put an end to obtrusive pop-ups used to claim a users consent.
A Google spokesperson said: “We build privacy and security into our products from the very earliest stages and are committed to complying with the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Over the last 18 months, we have taken steps to update our products, policies and processes to provide users with meaningful data transparency and control across all the services that we provide in the EU.”
Facebook is the parent company of both WhatsApp and Instagram.
Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram were contacted for comment.