Chairman of the watchdog organization, Jacob Kohnstamm, remarked, “Google spins an invisible web of our personal data, without our consent. And that is forbidden by law.” Enforcement is pending a hearing at which the search engine behemoth’s presence has been requested.
The DPA’s report emphasizes the difficulty of avoiding Google services, such as its search engine, e-mail, and YouTube: “With its services, Google reaches almost every person in the Netherlands with internet access. It is almost impossible not to use Google services on the Internet.” Google also receives and uses data about Internet users who do not use Google services but visit the over two million sites that have Google advertising cookies.
Google uses the data it collects to create personalized ads as well as to customize Google searches and YouTube. Internet users may not realize that some of the personal data collected is sensitive. Search histories, location data, and payment information are all combined and used without prior consent being given by users.
Thus far, Google has been court-ordered by France to make some changes in how it’s handling the personal data of French users. Missing the deadline, Google is facing possible sanctions. Last week, Germany also concluded that Google’s practices violate their privacy law.