The allegations come in the wake of the discovery that tracking by Google continues even if users turn off "Location History".
Close study In a statement, the coalition said Google used "deceptive practices" to make people turn on its different tracking systems.
Anyone who did pause tracking was told that Google might still, "depending on your individual phone and app settings", collect data about where people went, it said.
However, Google has failed to give users "straightforward information" about how their data is being used, they claim.
We enable you to control location data in other ways too, including in a different Google setting called Web App Activity, and on your device.
Seven countries, including Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden, claim location data tracked by Google could help reveal someone’s religious beliefs, political activity, health and sexual orientation.
Another complaint, filed back in May also by a consumer-focused organization, took aim at what it dubbed the use of “forced consent” by Google and Facebook — pointing out that the companies were offering users no choice but to have their personal data processed to make use of certain services, yet the GDPR requires consent to be freely given.
A coalition of seven consumer organisations is filing complaints with local data protection regulators over Google's tracking system.
Google could face major fines from the European Union’s privacy watchdogs for the "deceptive" way it track users’ locations.
In their complaint, the groups, which include Norway’s Consumer Council, argue that Google does not have proper legal basis to track users through “Location History” and “Web App Activity” — settings which are integrated into all Google accounts, and which, for users of Android -based smartphones, they assert are particularly difficult to avoid.
A group of European consumer watchdogs has filed a privacy complaint against Google — arguing the company uses manipulative tactics in order to keep tracking web users’ locations for ad-targeting purposes.
“Google’s data hunger is notorious but the scale with which it deceives its users to track and monetise their every move is breathtaking,” Monique Goyens, director general of EU consumer organisation, BEUC, said.
Google said tracking was turned off by default and could be paused at any time by users.
Among the underhand techniques that the Google-targeted GDPR complaint, which draws on the earlier report, calls out are allegations of deceptive click-flow, with the groups noting that a “location history” setting can be enabled during Android set-up without a user being aware of it; key settings being both buried in menus (hidden) and enabled by default; users being presented at the decision point with insufficient and misleading information; repeat nudges to enable location tracking even after a user has previously turned it off; and the bundling of “invasive location tracking” with other unrelated Google services, such as photo sorting by location.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Location data is being grabbed without users giving consent, consumer groups claim Google has been accused of flouting European data protection laws when it tracks users' locations.