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International: Transatlantic consumer groups take action against Google's signup process under GDPR

The European Consumer Organisation ('BEUC') announced, on 30 June 2022, that it had coordinated action between ten consumer groups against Google LLC, alleging that Google does not provide Privacy by Design or Privacy by Default as required by the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('GDPR') as part of its signup process, thus violating consumer privacy. In particular, the BEUC found the language used by Google as part of its registration process to be unclear, incomplete, and misleading, and additionally that important information concerning what data processing the three main account settings entail, or with regards to options that the user can choose from, is either not presented upfront, is vague, or is missing. In addition, the BEUC noted that it had launched, in November 2018, a series of coordinated complaints regarding the processing of consumer location data by Google, but that such complaints remain unresolved.

Accordingly, the Transfer Atlantic Consumer Dialogue ('TACD'), of which the BEUC is a member, released, on 30 June 2022, a statement on the same consumer action, clarifying that, in the US, ten consumers and digital groups from the TACD network wrote to the Federal Trade Commission ('FTC') to urge it to take concerns regarding Google into consideration and open an investigation into Google's practices to ensure that US consumer privacy rights are protected. Furthermore, the TACD determined that the alleged practices may violate the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914.

You can read the BEUC press release here, the FAQs here, the summary of action here, a copy of the model complaint here, the TACD's press release here, the letter to the FTC here, and follow the complaint's progress here.