back to article EU competition commish: We 'pay' for search and social media – with our data

Speaking at a digital innovation conference in Munich on Sunday, the European Union's competition commissioner warned of her interest in internet companies' big data slurpage. Just over a year into the role, Margrethe Vestager has acquired a reputation for knuckling down on the operations of large technology corporations, …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I wonder what she'll have to say about

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If its needs a privacy policy its likely invasive

    Bob gives Alice his email address, she uses a messaging app "Snoopy", that messaging app sniff the address book periodically and grabs Bob's email address.

    Bob didn't give Snoppy his email address, Snoopy took it even though Bob doesn't have an account with Snoopy. Snoopy then uses (and sometimes sells that info), as if it had consent fron Bob.


    Google takes your GPS location using Google Play Services and sends it regularly to Google HQ. What does the Play store need with a live update of your location? Even when you're not using it? It doesn't, Google HQ *wants* it for advertising and other data purposes. You neee Google Play to install apps, so you're force to accept this.

    IBM's got into the game recently by purchasing the weather widget on most Android phones. Which has location data and regular data pulls that send that data across. I doubt they bought it because its cute.

    Lots and lots of problems with phones stem from Google's conflict of interest. It put privacy features in 6, but did them in the worst possible way. The app can request features, one by one, so your initial download has one small set of privacy demands, and once you have invested time and data in that app, it can demand more and more privacy rights at the time it has most leverage. Google Play Services, gets a free pass even to that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If its needs a privacy policy its likely invasive

      That I understand, Google uses the evolution of your location to detect traffic jams. They figure out that if multiple Android users are going slowly on a highway, it means a traffic jam; that's how traffic jams show up on Google Maps.

      I'm sure that every user accepts this by ticking the T&Cs checkbox; they're just not paying attention. Or they don't care.

  3. Roj Blake Silver badge

    If it's free..'re not the customer, you're the product.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: If it's free..

      That's true, and sometimes I am happy to accept that bargain because I am (relatively) clued up enough to deal with it (hey, I come to this website!) However, I would not accept any deal where I did not know the price beforehand - if something in a shop doesn't have a price label, I don't buy it, for instance. Therefore, the powers that be should be insisting that the basic principles of contract law should be upheld and the price for these "free" services clearly displayed. I don't suppose it would stop everyone (or even a reasonable proportion), but it would educate at least some people.

  4. Tikimon Silver badge

    Free or not, they need CONSENT before stealing and selling my personal info

    All this "free" content used to be paid for by advertisements. That's transparent and non-invasive.

    Then came "targeted" adverts, and they want to know more about us to "better serve us".

    Now they're SELLING the info they were going to use to choose adverts with? I never agreed to that, and I never will. I block every kind of tracking and harvesting I can, and screw that onerous "business model".

    This talking head seems to be saying that as long as everyone has access to my personal data, and not only one or two companies who are hoarding it, then everything is OK! WRONG!

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: Free or not, they need CONSENT before stealing and selling my personal info

      But YOU already gave consent to them when you chose the "Accept" radio button. It was not stolen, YOU gave them permission. Or don't you know how to read?

      If you wanted "Informed Consent" you should have read the T's and C's. There is no excuse if you didn't and no sympathy for self inflicted wounds.

      1. Tikimon Silver badge

        Re: Free or not, they need CONSENT before stealing and selling my personal info

        Uh, sorry no. I don't recall ever clicking a EULA to visit most webpages, or to do a search from a search page.

        The recent ones that DO present a TOS, I simply close the page.

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