Bundeskartellamt's Administrative Proceeding against Google

Changes made to consent choices interface


Google faced liability for processing user data across services without affording users adequate choice options through its selection dialogue interfaces.

Our analysis

- Google from utilizing data processing terms that allowed the processing of user data across services without providing users with sufficient choice options.
- The key violation pertains to Google conditioning the use of its services on users' agreement to data processing terms, thereby restricting their ability to negotiate or exercise sufficient choices. Google's unilateral imposition of data processing terms, coupled with a lack of granularity in setting options, led to a scenario where users faced a "take it or leave it" situation. Users were compelled to accept cross-service data processing without the ability to opt out or tailor the processing to specific services, violating the requirement for freely given and informed consent.
-The absence of clear indications and comprehensive information on how data are processed across services, coupled with imprecise terminology, contributed to users' inability to make informed decisions.
- The ruling emphasized the inadequacy of Google's approach, highlighting the absence of equivalence between consent and rejection during account creation, particularly in the context of "Express personalization," where users were effectively steered towards accepting data processing options.


The Bundeskartellamt ruled that Google must enable users to provide free, specific, informed, and unambiguous consent for cross-service data processing. Google is required to offer transparent choice options for data combinations, ensuring that selection dialogues are not manipulative and avoiding the use of dark patterns.


Alphabet Inc, Google Ireland Limited, Google Germany GmbH, Oracle Corporation, and Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office Germany)

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