"Google spins an invisible web of our personal data, without our consent."
Because of Google's sheer size, the agency says it's virtually impossible for a Dutch user to avoid being tracked in some way, whether through search or cookies from a site using Google's ad platform. "Google spins an invisible web of our personal data, without our consent. And that is forbidden by law," says agency head Jacob Kohnstamm. While Google has argued that it has legitimate reasons to collect this data, the DPA says that it has insufficient safeguards for using the minimum amount of information necessary and that it doesn't get meaningful consent from users. A variety of individual opt-outs and FAQs exist, but the report says these are too onerous and don't add up to a complete opt-out option, despite changes since the policy went into effect. The report also refers to statements by notoriously cavalier Google executive Eric Schmidt, including a quote from a 2010 interview: "We don't need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."