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March 8, 2017

Google in more European trouble over data storage

Google has been accused of violating Danish data laws by consumer watchdog Taenk.

By Joe Clark

A Danish consumer council has reported Google to Danish authorities for violating user data laws.

The consumer advocacy council, Taenk (Think), has reported Alphabet’s Google to the Danish Data Protection Agency (DDPA) for possibly breaking personal information laws.

Taenk claims that the length of time Google holds on to users personal data exceeds the number of years permitted under Danish law and found that in some cases the company held user records on location and searches for up to ten years.

Taenk, in a report seen by Reuters, said: “The consumer council Taenk would like the Data Protection Agency to assess whether Google’s indefinite data collection complies with consumer’s basic right to privacy.”

“We have become aware of the fact that Google today has 9-10 years of data on users with a Google account.”

Taenk believes that Google currently has no limit on how far back Google can store user data, and the service is not made more efficient by knowing what users searched for eight years ago.

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The consumer council also stated that these detailed user profiles could prove detrimental to users if criminals were to obtain and exploit this information. Similarly the information could also be used for intrusive marketing campaigns.

Mark Jansen, Communication chief, Google North Europe, has said that Google will cooperate with the DDPA by answering any questions they might have, but pointed out that Google Users are able to turn location settings off when they desire.

Similarly, in July 2016, Italian privacy regulator had Google change its storage policy and the company now has to be transparent regarding how users data is used and for how long. It’s deletion is also guaranteed after a certain time.

It’s not yet clear if the complaint will become a legal case but in 2014 Google also lost a case to The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) and “the right to be forgotten” which allows users to request information be blocked from search results on European domains.

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