German competition regulator releases statement of objections against Google’s data processing terms

German competition regulator issues objections against Google’s data processing terms, aiming to enhance user choice regarding data processing. Concerns include lack of transparency and specificity in consent options. Google must respond to the preliminary assessment before a final decision in 2023.

The German Federal Cartel Office, Bundeskartellamt, issued a statement of objections against Google’s data processing terms, declaring that it plans to oblige the company to change the choices offered to consumers regarding data processing.

The Bundeskartellamt’s preliminary conclusions of its administrative proceeding against Google state that users of Google services ‘are not given sufficient choice as to whether and to what extent they agree to [a] far-reaching processing of data. The choices offered so far, if any, are, in particular, not sufficiently transparent and too general.’ The office argues that users should be able to limit the processing of data to the specific service used and to differentiate between the purposes for which the data are processed. In addition, the choices offered must not be devised in a way that makes it easier for users to consent to the processing of data across services than not to consent to this.

Following the issuance of the statement of objections, Google has the opportunity to comment on the office’s preliminary assessment and present either reasons to justify its practices or suggestions to dispel the concerns. A final decision on the administrative proceeding is awaited in 2023.