A European coalition has come after Google for harvesting user data via account sign-ins and undermining General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The consumer organisation BEUC said this morning that a German consumer body had sent a letter Alphabet-owned Google, which could lead to a civil lawsuit.
The crux of the accusation is that the Big Tech firm uses deceptive design around the account creation process, which the BEUC said steers users into agreeing to extensive and invasive processing of their data.
Consumer agencies in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden have also written to their privacy regulators alerting them about Google’s practices.
“The language Google uses at every step of the registration process is unclear, incomplete, and misleading,” the group said.
“Google also frames the more privacy-friendly options as missing out on advantages. This prevents the consumer from taking an informed decision when they make their choices and results in unfair, non-transparent and unlawful processing of their personal data”.
Google has pushed back against these claims and argued that users have a variety of options when they set up an account with them.
The Silicon Valley giant could face fines of up to two per cent of its global turnover if it is found guilty of breaching EU privacy rules.
CMO of SaaS firm Tom Bianchi told City A.M.: Our most research has found that 24% of the public received daily unsolicited communications, undermining confidence in GDPR to enforce explicit consent. Unsolicited marketing breaks consumer trust and risks long-term damage to brand equity. Greater emphasis must be placed on first-party strategies, helping marketers to increase customer loyalty and spend.”