A consumer advocacy report has alleged that Microsoft, Google and Facebook are tricking users in Europe into sharing more personal data than they know, CNET reported.
According to the Norwegian Consumer Council tech companies particularly social networking giant Facebook and Search engine major Google are using dark patterns or designs and user interfaces to entrap users into involuntarily taking an action to nudge users “toward the least privacy-friendly options to a degree that we consider unethical."
The report doesn't spare Software maker Microsoft either and alleges that the company’s Windows 10 is reflecting similar dark patterns albeit to a much lesser extent. The reports points out to Facebook for instance that uses a facial recognition feature. It alleges that users that wanted to opt out were warned by Facebook that if the face recognition feature was turned off, they wouldn’t be able to use the technology if a stranger used the user’s photo to impersonate him or her.
The report demonstrates that nudging of users toward "the least privacy friendly options" is unethical, and questions whether consent given in these circumstances is in fact explicit, informed and freely given. This is in sharp contrast with the European Union's GDPR - the legislation that went into effect just last month to supposedly safeguard users' personal data.
However, Microsoft was quick to react and told CENT it's a "priority for Microsoft to ensure that all our products and services will comply with applicable law, including the GDPR." The other two tech majors didn't immediately respond to the agency's request for comment.