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Sci-Tech
Wednesday Apr 07 2021
By
Web Desk

Austrian privacy activist alleges Google illegally tracks Android users: report

By
Web Desk
According to the publication, Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. Reuter's file image.
  • Max Schrems accuses Google in France of illegally tracking users on Android phones without their consent.
  • Android phones generate unique advertising codes that allow Google and third parties to track users’ browsing behaviour.
  • Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Max Schrems, who is an Austrian privacy activist, has accused Google in France of illegally tracking users on Android phones without their consent.

According to a report published in Financial Times, Android phones generate unique advertising codes, similar to Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), that allow Google and third parties to track users’ browsing behaviour to better target them with advertising.

Schrems has filed a complaint, highlighting that in creating and storing these codes without first obtaining explicit permission from users, Google was engaging in “illegal operations” that violate EU privacy laws.

Read more: Australia introducing legislation asking Google, Facebook to pay for news

The activist urged France’s data privacy regulator to launch a probe into Google’s tracking practices and to force the company to comply with privacy rules.

“Through these hidden identifiers on your phone, Google and third parties can track users without their consent,” said Stefano Rossetti, a privacy lawyer at Noyb – which is a campaign group by Schreme working for the cause.

“It is like having powder on your hands and feet, leaving a trace of everything you do on your phone — from whether you swiped right or left to the song you downloaded,” the lawyer added.

According to the publication, Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.