Thursday 17 October 2019

Google escapes Irish data privacy investigation over tracking scandal

Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Ireland’s data protection commissioner is not currently investigating Google’s data-tracking controversy as the tech giant has not yet officially incorporated its data protection residency here, according to a spokesman.

While Google indicated that Ireland was to be its ‘one stop shop’ data protection jurisdiction in the wake of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law, it has not yet finalised this registration process with the Irish DPC’s office.

This means that the Irish data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, is unlikely to look into the data-tracking controversy unless a direct complaint is made about it here. So far, said the spokesman, no complaint has been received.

A spokesperson for Google was unable to say when it would finalise its data protection registration process here.

Instead, the issue is being investigated by the French data protection authority following complaints over Google’s tracking practices there.

Earlier this week, an AP investigation found that Google is recording information about where you go and other ‘location data’ even among those who thought they had gone through the necessary privacy checks to make sure it doesn’t do that.

The investigation found that even if iPhone and Android phone users turn their ‘location data’ switch off, Google still stores a snapshot of where they are when they open its popular ‘Maps’ app.

Similarly, automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like "chocolate chip cookies," or "kids science kits," pinpoint a user’s precise latitude and longitude — accurate to the square metre — and save it to their Google account.

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