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Consumer groups worry Google’s deal will lead to monitoring.

Consumer groups worry Google’s deal will lead to monitoring.

Consumer groups worry Google’s deal will lead to monitoring.

Consumer groups worry Google’s deal will lead to monitoring. (credits: Google)

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  • Ten European consumer groups are suing Google over its account-signup process.
  • The organisation claims the sign-up process leads consumers toward data-collecting alternatives.
  • Google’s language is deceptive, prompting users to choose less privacy-friendly options.
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Ten European consumer groups are suing Google over its account-signup process.

To use many Google products and services, you need an account.

The organisation claims the sign-up process leads consumers toward data-collecting alternatives.

Google told the BBC it welcomes discussions with consumer advocates.

The company stated honesty and transparency earned consumer trust “We bet on making controls easier to use and offering clearer options.

“And doing more with less data.”

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BEUC, which coordinates the alliance, believes Google’s registration language is “unclear, incomplete, and deceptive,” prompting many users to choose less privacy-friendly options.

BEUC believes that “tens of millions of Europeans are on a fast track to surveillance” after creating a Google account.

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The consumer group says Google asks users to choose account settings during sign-up.

The easiest one-step “express personalization” approach, it claims, “feeds Google’s surveillance activities.”

Consumer group: Google doesn’t let consumers switch off all settings with one click.

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BEUC says it takes five clicks and ten steps to turn off the trackers Google activates on a new account, including online and app activity, YouTube history, and personalised advertising.

BEUC Deputy Director General Ursula Pachl: “Google can watch and exploit your every move with one simple action. Privacy-friendly settings need a lengthy process and ambiguous and deceptive options.

Pachl said: “When you create a Google account, you’re automatically susceptible to surveillance. Consumers should choose privacy protection by default.”

GDPR mandates platforms to guarantee consumers privacy by design and default.

Google says all options are well labelled and easy to grasp.

They’re based on research, regulation guidelines, and testing, the company says.

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BBC: “People should know how internet use generates data. Those who don’t like it should have a say.”

BEUC members in the Czech Republic, Norway, Greece, France, and Slovenia have lodged GDPR complaints against Google with their local data protection authorities.

German consumer groups warned Google.

BEUC’s prior inquiry has progressed, the BBC has been told.

In 2018, BEUC members accused Google of violating GDPR by recording user locations.

In July 2019, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission was named lead authority.

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The commission is Google and other Irish IT businesses’ data protection authority.

In February 2020, it investigated Google’s location data use and collecting.

But Ms “We’ve complained about Google’s location-tracking methods for more than three years, but the Irish Data Protection Commissioner hasn’t ruled. Google’s practises haven’t altered.”

Graham Doyle, Ireland’s Deputy Data Protection Commissioner, told the BBC, “Our inquiry into Google and location data is well developed and we intend to send a draught conclusion to our colleagues in the next couple of months.”

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