Discrimination, Manipulation, ExploitationScrutinizing 10 popular apps in Google Play Store, such as Grindr, Clue, and Perfect365, the NCC report’s technical analysis reveals comprehensive tracking and profiling practices. Personal data is systematically collected and shared with dozens of third-party companies without users’ knowledge. EFF’s recent report on third-party tracking documents additional ways that companies profit from invading our digital privacy.
The NCC’s legal analysis concludes that companies have not obtained valid consent from consumers to process their data under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and consumers have no practical option to avoid being tracked. The report highlights that profiling practices may not only be used to personalize advertising, but could also result in discrimination, manipulation, and exploitation of users.
Actions by Consumer and Digital Rights OrganizationsCurrent tracking and profiling practices translate into exploitative practices in contradiction to the GDPR, the report says. While the research was carried out in the EU, the analyzed apps are available around the globe, and many are owned by companies headquartered in the U.S. Responding to the report, consumer and digital rights organizations globally are notifying their data protection authorities.
What Needs to Be Done: Strong Privacy Rights and Alternative Solutions
EFF has long advocated for critical and tangible privacy rights for users, including the right to opt-in consent, the right to know, and the right to data portability. Rules should not only exist on paper but users should also be empowered to bring their own lawsuits against companies that violate their privacy rights.
The NCC report shows that a huge surveillance industry has built up around us. Instead, we need a user-oriented tech ecosystem that does not treat user data like a free resource to be exploited. To build alternative solutions to the incumbent online advertising systems, we need new laws that create strong privacy rights.
Report and materials: https://www.forbrukerradet.no/out-of-control/