The Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy watchdog organization, has announced that it has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission which urges powerhouse technology company Google (Menlo Park, CA) to halt their consumer tracking of in-store purchases.
EPIC’s complaint asks the FTC to stop Google’s tracking of in-store purchases in order to properly determine whether Google adequately protects the privacy of consumers.
According to EPIC’s website, Google’s practice of collecting of billions of credit/debit card transactions also allow the company to link such personal information to the activities of users of their services. EPIC contends that while Google claims that it takes necessary precautions to protect online privacy of its users, they actively refuse to reveal details of the proprietary algorithm that “de-identifies” consumers while also simultaneously tracking their purchases.
In a 2015 Q3 earnings report, Google touted that the amount of users of their services (such as the Google search engine, Gmail email services, Google Maps navigation, etc.) totals 1 billion. The statistics relating strictly to Google searches total at 3.5 billion queries a day, and 1.2 trillion queries a year.
EPIC’s track record in filing successful complaints to the FTC that have resulted in some kind of action have been notable. The organization’s complaints have resulted in amendments to Facebook‘s privacy preferences, as well as in the launch of Google’s now-defunct social networking platform, Google Buzz.
You can read EPIC’s full FTC complaint by clicking here.