Google’s Payment Card Tracker May Violate Federal Privacy Laws

Google’s Payment Card Tracker May Violate Federal Privacy Laws

August 2, 2017         Written By John H. Oldshue

Google’s new payment card tracker, Google Attribution, may be under attack before it ever hits the market. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) plans to file a complaint with the FTC alleging that Google’s mysterious data collection methods violate federal privacy laws.

Google Attribution is designed to track online leads that generate offline sales. The service monitors 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the United States. According to Google, the data is collected with double blind encryption to ensure that payment card information does not get in the wrong hands. However, the EPIC is demanding more answers.

The complaint also talks about how consumers do not have a way to opt-out of the data collection process. Since Google has not released the exact process through which the information is collected, consumers are also unable to decide which cards want to use for transactions. In other words, consumers who do not want certain card data tracked will not know where to use that card to keep it from being tracked Google.

Google says consumers have the option to opt out of the service by disabling the Web & App Activity from their My Activity page. The privacy group says the instructions there are vague and confusing.

Google also says advertisers will not receive any personal information from Attribution, but rather general info about the percentage of clicks that led to in-person sales. EPIC’s complaint states Google’s data may reveal a person’s medical conditions, religious beliefs, and other “intimate information,” which could still be a privacy violation.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 2, 2017. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for
View all posts by John H. Oldshue
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