It seems Google is not the only company struggling to come to terms with GDPR; according to an analysis of online privacy policies, 14 of the world’s leading tech firms – including Facebook, Amazon, AirBnB and Apple, as well as Google – do not fully meet the requirements of the new regulation.
Pan-European consumer group BEUC, which carried out the probe, claims the 14 firms use unclear language, claim “potentially problematic” rights, and provide insufficient information for users to judge what they are agreeing to.
Google, for instance, tells users that “we collect information about your activity in our services, which we use to do things like recommend a YouTube video you might like”. BEUC flags this as “unclear”, as it does not completely specify what the information is used for.
Amazon warns users that “our business changes constantly and our Privacy Notice will change also”, a line that is noted as “problematic permissions”, because it could give the company the right to change privacy policies without securing further consent.
BEUC’s director general Monique Goyens said: “A little over a month after the GDPR became applicable, many privacy policies may not meet the standard of the law. This is very concerning. It is key that enforcement authorities take a close look at this.”
When contacted, both Amazon and Google denied any wrong-doing.
However, earlier this week it was claimed that Google’s failure to get to grips with GDPR is leaving many firms which use its advertising services, particularly ad-funded websites and apps, high and dry by targeting ads to users who have not given adequate consent.
Google EMEA president of business and operations Matt Brittin recently claimed that too much of the detail of GDPR had come too late – despite the regulation being passed two years ago – and admitted that the company still is “just starting” to work with partners to see how it can comply with the regulation.
Meanwhile, just hours after GDPR came into force, both Facebook and Google were hit by complaints from privacy group NOYB, a non-profit organisation founded by Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems.
Four complaints against the main Facebook site, as well as subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp and Google’s Android operating system claim that the companies have forced users into agreeing to new terms of service, in breach of the requirement in the law that such consent should be freely given.
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