Accused of spamming its users with advertising, Google is attacked before the Cnil

News hardware Accused of spamming its users with advertising, Google is attacked before the Cnil

Google is the subject of a complaint filed with the CNIL, which is responsible for protecting the privacy of Internet users in France. It is the Gmail service which is concerned by this new case: we explain everything to you.

The saying “If it’s free, you’re the product” is still relevant on the Internet. And Google offers a lot of free services to Internet userswhich necessarily has certain consequences, particularly in the field of private life. Today, it is Gmail, Google’s messaging service, which is the subject of a complaint filed by the Austrian association Noyb (for “Non of your Business”) with the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (Cnil).

Advertising emails sent without authorization

Noyb accuses Google of sending “Gmail users unsolicited emails straight to their inbox”with a view to serving the interests of companies that are clients of its advertising service. These emails are particularly identifiable by means of a green sticker in which is written “announcement”, which confirms their advertising positioning.

An example given in Noyb’s complaint.

The association believes that Google would thus have violated Directive 2002/58/EC of July 12, 2002 relating to the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy. The latter, also known as the “European e-Privacy Directive”, in particular prohibits companies from sending advertising emails to their users, unless the latter have given their prior authorization. However, in this context, Google seems to operate without permission.

Through his accusationsNoyb therefore asks the CNIL to conduct an investigation to determine whether or not Google is guilty of an offense in this sense. For the time being, the Mountain View firm did not wish to comment on this situation.

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Noyb, Google’s pet peeve in Europe

We can translate the acronym of Noyb by “It’s not your business” in the language of Molière. This association was founded by Max Schrems, an Austrian activist who has already attacked Google, but also Facebook in the past.. It is active all over Europe. In France, she contributed to having Google fined 50 million euros by the Cnil in 2019 : this case concerned Android, and the fact that the American company was not sufficiently transparent concerning the exploitation of the personal data of the user of the operating system. Since then, Google has changed its tune on this subject.

The CNIL is very sensitive to issues of this kindand it would not be surprising if the French commission conducted an investigation to “determine who is the sender of Gmail advertising emails, what data is collected and retained by these senders and Google, and how these senders can report proof of consent for complainants”as Noyb asks.

It remains to be seen whether an investigation will take place. If that were the case, this could lead to changes to how Google monetizes Gmail’s presence in Franceand provide users of the service with better protection of their privacy.

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