Irish data protection regulators have opened a privacy probe into Google. This is a new one from the EU regulatory body, amid growing concerns of privacy infractions by Google; who have been accused of exploiting users’ private information for advertising purposes.
The privacy probe is being pioneered by the “Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) of Ireland” – the lead regulator of Google in Europe. As gathered, the regulatory body opened the investigation on Saturday, August 17; having received numerous complaints and petitions from individuals and corporate groups, including a renowned privacy-based browser – Brave.
Brave Browser confronts Google
In a complaint filed last year, Brave accused Google of selling users data to advertising companies. The firm argued that Google keeps track of users browsing behavior, and broadcasts private data to hundreds of companies – to facilitate advert placements. This, according to Brave, is a serious privacy infraction. And a probe has now been opened, to verify Brave’s complaints.
As brought forth by the Irish regulators, in a recently released statement, Google’s activities would be reviewed – to establish the firm’s level of compliance with the European GDPR privacy law, which was introduced last year.
The regulatory body will consider three factors in its investigation, including;
- the lawful basis of Google’s data processing;
- the firm’s transparency and data minimisation principles; and
- their data retention activities.
It’s unclear how long the probe would last; however, if the regulators’ inquiry revealed culpability on Google’s part, sanctions would be placed, as stipulated by EU’s GDPR law.
Under the law, companies in violation may be forced to pay fines in excess of €20 million. Hence, Google would probably be fined within this range, or more, if more damning discoveries are made.
EU regulators & Google
This is not the first investigation into Google’s activities by the European Union. In fact, the American tech giant have a backlog of EU fines, in excess of £6 billion.
Earlier this year, EU’s Antitrust regulators handed down a fine of £1.27 billion to Google. This came barely six months after a $5 billion fine was handed down to the tech firm.
These fines were handed down after Google was adjudged to have breached the union’s “competition law”, in several capacities. And with the recently-launched inquiry, another fine appears imminent.
However, it’s important to note that EU’s regulations are not only targeted at Google. At the moment, a total of 51 large-scale probes are underway and a number of top tech firms are involved. Among these firms are Facebook (and subsidiaries), Twitter, LinkedIn and Apple among others.
Nonetheless, the privacy probe into Google appears to be the most trending. And given the level of commitment shown towards the GDPR law, Google may just be made a scapegoat.
What do you think about Google’s privacy probe?