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Austrian Privacy Complaint Filed Against Alphabet for Alleged Browser Tracking

BRUSSELS—Alphabet’s Google received a complaint from Austrian advocacy group NOYB on Thursday for allegedly tracking users of its Chrome Web browser, an issue already being monitored by EU antitrust regulators.

The U.S. tech giant is phasing out the use of third-party cookies that advertisers use to track consumers in order to safeguard consumer privacy.

It has introduced a set of tools known as the Privacy Sandbox to block covert tracking techniques and restrict data sharing with third parties, while developers and publishers can measure ads without tracking individual users.

Chrome users are given the option to enable the ad privacy feature to avoid being tracked.

NOYB (none of your business) claimed that the feature allows Google to track users within the browser, and that the company should obtain users’ consent as required under European Union privacy rules.

“People thought they were agreeing to a privacy feature, but were misled into accepting Google’s first-party ad tracking. Consent must be informed, transparent, and fair to be lawful. Google has done the opposite,” NOYB founder Max Schrems stated.

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The group filed a complaint with the Austrian data protection authority on Thursday.

NOYB has submitted numerous complaints to EU and national privacy watchdogs against major tech companies for alleged privacy violations.

By Foo Yun Chee

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