Privacy advocacy group calls on FTC to investigate Google's secretive tracking techniques

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate one of Google's consumer profile techniques, called "Store Sales Measurement."

For the "Store Sales Measurement" technique, Google collects billions of credit card transactions, which it links to consumers' online activities such as product and location searches. Its goal is to assess the correlation between advertising impressions and store purchases.

In the complaint, EPIC alleges Google has infringed on user privacy by collecting "billions" of credit card transactions containing personal customer information. One of the advocacy group's primary  concerns is that Google reportedly refuses to allow independent testing of its algorithm, according to the complaint.

"This data reveals sensitive information about consumer purchases, health and private lives. According to Google, it can track about 70 percent of credit and debit card transactions in the United States," the complaint reads.

Google said its advertising approach is "common" and that it had "invested in building a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users' data remains private, secure and anonymous," according to a statement provided to The Washington Post. Google allows customers to opt out of the tracking program, although EPIC alleges this process is "burdensome, opaque and misleading."

EPIC is requesting the FTC investigate Google, as well as other companies engaged in similar practices, to ensure its programs protect the privacy of its users.

Click here to read the full complaint.

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