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A man is already suing over alleged Google GDPR violations

  • A privacy activist is already suing over alleged Google GDPR violations.
  • The GDPR took effect today, so this guy wasted no time.
  • Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp also got hit with lawsuits from the same man.

Today is the first day that Europe’s landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect. Although almost every internet company has had to alter its privacy and data collection policies to comply with the new law (which is why you’re receiving so many emails on privacy policy changes), some argue that Google isn’t doing enough.

That’s why Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems – a vocal critic of Google’s data collection practices – is suing the company to the tune of $3.7 billion.

Schrems is also suing Facebook and its major subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp. The Facebook lawsuit is for a little more money than Google, at $3.9 billion, via The Verge.

Although Google made sweeping changes to its privacy policy (as did Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp), Schrems argues that the company is violating the GDPR in that the acceptance of that policy is “all-or-nothing.”

Part of the GDPR statutes state that users should be able to opt-in or opt-out of specific policies when it comes to privacy and data collection, not either accept everything or be barred from using the product. Schrems argues that the companies in question violate these statutes by asking you to either accept or deny the changes to their privacy policies; if you deny the changes, you can’t use the service.

Schrems argues that if you don’t accept all the new privacy policies right now, you can’t use Facebook, Android, Google, Instagram, or WhatsApp.

Google and Facebook issued statements in response to the lawsuits, predictably disputing the charges. “We build privacy and security into our products from the very earliest stages,” Google said in the statement, “and are committed to complying with the EU GDPR.”

A Facebook spokesperson denied any wrongdoing and said that the company has “prepared for the past 18 months to ensure we meet the requirements of the GDPR.”

Although Schrems has a point, it is still unclear how European regulators plan to enforce the GDPR statutes. Legal cases of this magnitude will be expensive and time-consuming, so we’ll have to wait and see just how committed the EU is to the GDPR and enforcing its statutes.

NEXT: Google makes privacy policy easier to understand, adds new data controls

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