Consumer groups claim that Google signing up 'fast track for surveillance' is a sign-up offer from Google

A coalition of ten European consumer organizations is taking action against Google over Google's account signing-up process.

Consumer groups claim that Google signing up 'fast track for surveillance' is a sign-up offer from Google

A coalition of ten European consumer organizations is taking action against Google over Google's account signing-up process.

To use many of Google's products and services, you will need a Google account.

The coalition claims that the sign-up process leads users to options that collect more data.

Google stated to the BBC that it was happy to have the chance to interact with consumers advocates about the topic.

According to the company, trust in consumers was dependent on honesty and transparency. It stated that it would "invest its future success in making controls easier and more accessible for people and giving them clearer options."

"And, equally important, doing more using less data."

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), the coordinator of the coalition, asserts that the language Google uses during the registration process is unclear, incomplete and misleading. This has led many consumers to choose options that are less privacy-friendly.

According to BEUC, "tens of million of Europeans were placed on a fast track for surveillance after they signed up for a Google account."

According to the consumer group, sign-up is where Google asks users how they want their account to operate.

It claims that the "express personalisation" process is one-step and leaves customers with account settings that "feed Google surveillance activities".

The consumer group claims that Google doesn't give users the ability to instantly turn off all settings.

BEUC claims that it takes only five clicks and ten steps for Google to disable the trackers on a new account. These trackers relate to web activity, YouTube history, and personalized advertising.

Ursula Pachl is the deputy director general for the BEUC. She stated: "It only takes one step to allow Google monitor and exploit all you do. To benefit from privacy-friendly settings you will need to navigate through a lengthy process with a mixture of unclear and misleading options.

Ms. Pachl said: "In summary, when you create an account on Google, you are subject to surveillance by design as well as by default. Privacy protection should be the default choice and most convenient for consumers.

Platforms must comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Google insists that all options are clearly labeled and made to be easy to understand.

These are based, according to the company, on extensive research and guidance from regulators.

According to it, the BBC should be able "to understand how data is generated through their use of internet services." They should be able, if they don't like it to make a complaint.

BEUC members from the Czech Republic, Norway and Greece have filed GDPR complaints against Google with the relevant data protection authorities. Groups in Sweden, Denmark, France, Greece and Slovenia have also written to their respective authorities.

Google has been warned by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations.

The BBC was informed by BEUC that the previous investigation has progressed as this latest action is launched

Members of the BEUC filed a complaint against Google in 2018 alleging that the tech giant violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In July 2019, the Data Protection Commission of Ireland was named the lead authority for the complaints.

This commission is the data protection authority for Google, as well as many other tech companies with European headquarters in Ireland.

In February 2020, it launched an inquiry into Google’s location data collection and use.

Ms. Pachl stated that it had been more than three years since complaints were filed against Google's location tracking practices. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has not yet made a decision. Nonetheless, Google's practices are not changing in substance."

Graham Doyle Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner stated to the BBC that the investigation into Google and the location data was well advanced and that a draft decision would be sent to Data Protection Authorities to get their feedback.

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