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French lawsuit accuses Google of violating EU privacy rules

 (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)
Associated Press

PARIS – A leading French consumer group filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday accusing Google of violating the European Union’s landmark 2018 privacy rules.

In its filing in a Paris administrative court, the consumer group UFC Que Choisir is seeking $1,135 in damages for each of the 200 Google users involved so far.

It’s among the first cases challenging tech giants over their application of the EU’s new rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.

Google defended its practices. In a statement, the company said: “We have high standards for transparency and consent based on both guidance from regulators and robust user testing, and we provide helpful information and easy-to-use privacy controls in our products.”

The complaint filed in Paris names Google Ireland and Google LLC. The consumer group says Google’s confidentiality rules are more than 1,000 lines long, and do not meet GDPR requirements to make it easy for users to block Google from things like tracking user’s location or sending targeted ads.

Amid public complaints and concerns about privacy – especially in Europe – Google recently streamlined the way it asks users for consent, and announced plans to allow users to automatically delete location history.

France’s privacy watchdog CNIL ordered Google earlier this year to pay a fine of 50 million euros based on a similar complaint, which helped lead to the class-action litigation. Google is appealing the CNIL decision.

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