Dutch consumer group filing class-action suit against Google for privacy violations
The Dutch consumers’ association Consumentenbond and Stichting Bescherming Privacybelangen are preparing a mass claim against Google. They demand that the tech giant immediately stop tracking, collecting, and selling consumer data without their consent and pay compensation to all Dutch users of Google.
If the company fails to do so, they’ll take the matter to court. Netherlands residents who want to sign up for this claim can do so here. To qualify, you must have lived in the Netherlands and used at least one Google product or service since 1 March 2012.
“Google is the most dominant data company in the world. It collects and processes huge amounts of personal data through its ubiquitous products and services,” Consumentenbond said. That includes data about location and online activities, even when users changed the settings not to allow this. “Google collects data in a way where real consent from users is impossible.”
According to the consumers’ association, Google then merges the collected data, creating in-depth profiles on consumers’ lives, and sells it to other parties - also outside Europe, which is against European privacy laws and “exposes Dutch consumers to the risk of surveillance by foreign authorities.”
“Google violates privacy law on an unprecedented scale,” said Ada van der Veer of Bescherming Privacybelangen, a foundation that fights to protect privacy interests. She accused Google of illegal surveillance and illegal commercial exploitation of personal data. “Google knows what you are doing, where you are, what you might want to do, and what you are thinking about. It captures all of this and makes an awful lot of money with it.”
“Google has enriched itself for years at the expense of consumer privacy. That must stop immediately,’ Consumentenbond director Sandra Molenaar agreed. “As per law, consumers must be financially compensated for this. That is the only way to make clear to these companies that they must abide by the rules.”
“The violations are serious in themselves, but the scale on which they took and still take place makes them even worse. Almost everyone in the Netherlands is affected by it,” Molenaar said. She urged Netherlands residents to sign up for the class-action suit. “We have to make a fist together and show that we will no longer tolerate this kind of misconduct.”