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Ireland is investigating Google's use of location data

Posted February 4, 2020 12:53 p.m. EST

— Ireland has launched an inquiry into Google's processing of location data, adding to pressure on the search giant from regulators in Europe.

The country's Data Protection Commission said Tuesday that it "received a number of complaints" from consumer organizations across the European Union tied to Google's use of location information collected from its users.

The inquiry will "set out to establish whether Google has a valid legal basis for processing the location data of its users and whether it meets its obligations as a data controller with regard to transparency," according to the commission.

A Google spokesperson said that in the past year, the company has made a number of changes in how it processes the data.

"People should be able to understand and control how companies like Google use location data to provide services to them," a company spokesperson said in a statement. "We will cooperate fully with the office of the Data Protection Commission in its inquiry, and continue to work closely with regulators and consumer associations across Europe."

The European Union has emerged as a key battleground for Google, and the US tech industry more broadly, because of its stringent rules on data protection, hate speech, taxation and competition issues. Many tech companies, including Google, have their European headquarters in Ireland, so regulators there have been taking the lead.

In December, the European Commission launched a preliminary investigation into how Google gathers, processes, uses and monetizes data for advertising purposes. Facebook will be scrutinized as part of that review as well.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission also announced an inquiry Tuesday into Match Group. The regulator will examine how the dating app company processes users' personal data from Tinder, which is owned by Match Group.

"Transparency and protecting our users' personal data is of utmost importance to us," Match Group said in a statement. "We are fully cooperating with the Data Protection Commission, and will continue to abide by GDPR and all applicable laws."

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