Google faces accusations of breaching ePrivacy directives in France

Google faces accusations of breaching ePrivacy directives in France

Tech giant Google LLC is reportedly facing the wrath of the European Union over the breach of ePrivacy Directive rules set by the association on direct marketing, by inserting ads into its Gmail service via emails without users’ consent.

The complaint was filed with the data protection regulatory body, Commission Nationale de l'informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), by the privacy advocacy group, NOYB (None Of Your Business), for failing to obtain permission from Gmail users for the ads that appear within their inboxes, besides the promotional emails for which they have registered.

Based on citations under a ruling passed last year for a separate case related to the use of emails for direct marketing, the ePrivacy directive states that ads directed toward a user’s inbox constitute the use of electronic mail for marketing purposes, which cannot be carried forward without the user’s approval. 

The complaint by NOYB asserted that Google failed to comply with the aforementioned regulations before spamming users with their ads.

They also claimed that exceptions for the EU law could not be applied under this scenario as Google’s ad emails are not utilized for direct marketing of similar products, for which the consent was originally obtained.

Elaborating on the same, Romain Robert, a lawyer at NOYB claimed that ‘Spam’ is a commercial email that is sent without consent, even if it is sent by the email service provider.

Notably, this is not the first time that Google is at loggerheads with the law, as in December 2020, the CNIL slapped a fine of nearly USD 120 million, for suddenly dropping tracking cookies without consent. Another hefty fine of USD 170 million was enforced in January 2022, as the regulatory body noticed dark patterns deployed by Google in cookie consent forms.

Meanwhile, Meta Platforms Inc. is also confronted with a significant decision on a long-standing dispute about its EU data exports filed by NOYB's chairman — long before he established the privacy activism group.

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Omkar Patwardhan

Omkar Patwardhan started his professional career in the hospitality industry. Having nurtured a deep-sated passion for words however, he found his way into content writing and now pens down articles for numerous websites, including News Origins, spanning the sectors of business, finance, and technology.