Google Under Investigation by Ireland's Data Protection Authority Over Location Tracking

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Ireland’s data protection commission has announced a new probe into Google’s handling of location data, specifically the “the legality of Google’s processing of location data and the transparency surrounding that processing.”

The Data Protection Commission said Tuesday in a statement that it will probe whether Google violated rules governing how companies process location data as well as whether the company “meets its obligations as a data controller with regard to transparency.” In a statement to Gizmodo by email, a Google spokesperson said the company will “cooperate fully” with the probe, adding that in the last year, Google has “made a number of product changes to improve the level of user transparency and control over location data.”

“People should be able to understand and control how companies like Google use location data to provide services to them,” the company said.


Facing pressure from international data watchdogs about the way they handle user data, many tech giants—Google among them—have introduced features and portals to give consumers greater control over how the companies use their products. Everyone from Google to Amazon and perhaps most laughably, Facebook, has ostensibly pivoted to “privacy” with an emphasis on transparency—or at least, the illusion of transparency.

For example, Google last year introduced a tool to let users auto-delete their activity and location data after 3 months or 18 months rather than requiring them to delete that data manually. Those tools, however, aren’t always intuitive for individual users, and many are likely unaware of the numerous options that Google has for keeping tabs on users.

Separately, Ireland’s data protection commission announced Tuesday that it’s also investigating Match Group’s Tinder and its “ongoing processing of users’ personal data with regard to its processing activities in relation to the Tinder platform, the transparency surrounding the ongoing processing, and the company’s compliance with its obligations with regard to data subject right’s requests.”

“Transparency and protecting our users’ personal data is of utmost importance to us,” Match Group told Gizmodo in a statement. “We are fully cooperating with the Data Protection Commission, and will continue to abide by GDPR and all applicable laws.”