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Google's Advertising Technology Faces Class-Action Privacy Lawsuit in the Netherlands

Google is embroiled in a class-action style lawsuit in the Netherlands, accused of violating EU data protection laws. Over 82,000 consumers have joined the claim, seeking compensation for large-scale privacy breaches.


Google is finding itself under legal scrutiny in the Netherlands, faced with a class-action lawsuit accusing the tech behemoth of violating European privacy laws.

Two not-for-profit organizations, the Foundation for the Protection of Privacy Interests (FPPI) and the Dutch Consumers’ Association (Consumentenbond), have initiated the suit. They argue that Google collects and shares user data on an immense scale, including sensitive personal data, without adequate information or permission.

The lawsuit has attracted a substantial number of participants, with over 82,000 consumers signing up to join the claim since its announcement in May. Registration remains open for those who have used Google's products or services anytime after March 1, 2012, and lived in the Netherlands.

The case benefits from the Netherlands' early adoption of a new EU directive on representative actions. The Court of Justice of the EU has also clarified that compensation can be claimed for emotional distress resulting from privacy law violations.

The lawsuit is being backed by the litigation-focused law firm, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. This firm previously funded successful privacy litigation against Facebook-owner Meta.

As of press time, Google has not responded to the litigation. However, the company has been subject to ongoing investigations by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission for alleged GDPR breaches, albeit without any decisive action taken so far.

The lawsuit is another example of increasing scrutiny on tech companies and their data collection practices, potentially serving as a precedent for future actions. As Google pivots its ad targeting system to "Privacy Sandbox," critics question the extent to which this offers a genuine improvement in data privacy.

The case puts the spotlight back on the urgent need for tech companies to comply with data protection laws, as consumers and regulatory bodies are becoming more assertive in holding them accountable.