Google’s new program to track shoppers sparks a federal privacy complaint

A prominent privacy rights watchdog is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a new Google advertising program that ties consumers’ online behavior to their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. The legal complaint from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, to be filed with the FTC on Monday, alleges that Google is newly gaining access to a trove of highly-sensitive information — the credit and debit card purchases records of the majority of US consumers — without revealing how they got the information or giving consumers’ meaningful ways to opt-out.

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