Google Hit With Complaints From European Consumer Groups Regarding Data Manipulation And User Tracking

Complaints were filed on Tuesday in seven Euporean countries against internet giant Google, with each complaint citing that the company is in violation of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). reports that the Czech Republic, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, and Sweden all filed complaints citing a study by the Norwegian Consumer Council. In the study, the council concluded that Google utilized "deceptive design and misleading information" that allowed the company to regularly track users.

An estimated 70 percent of mobile phones in Europe use the Android operating system, the internet tracker site Statcounter says.

"Constant location tracking and aggregation of location data over time can be used to build very detailed profiles of individuals and to infer religious beliefs, political leanings, and sexual orientation, among other things," the Norwegian compalint read in part.

Google is accused of using activity on the webb and apps, as well as location history to keep tabs on users.

"Google's data hunger is notorious but the scale with which it deceives its users to track and monetise their every move is breathtaking. The situation is more than alarming," Monique Goyens, director general of The European Consumer Organisation said. "Smartphones are being used for spying on our every move."

Google responded to the complaints in a statement, saying, "Location History is turned off by default, and you can edit, delete, or pause it at any time. If it's on, it helps improve services like predicted traffic on your commute.If you pause it, we make clear that — depending on your individual phone and app settings — we might still collect and use location data to improve your Google experience."

It is not the first time that the internet company has been accused of tracking users and invading privacy, a man in San Diego filed a lawsuit in August 2018 stating that Google tracked his movements without his permission.

The same day of the lawsuit being filed, Google admitted that it stores location history, even if users elect to disable the setting on a smartphone.

The company was also hit with another bombshell over the weekend, as an estimated 560,000 people downloaded 13 apps from the Google Play store that contained malware. All the apps were by the same developer, Luiz Pinto.