Privacy advocates file complaint against Google’s new program that tracks your brick-and-mortar purchases

Google knows a lot about us from our online search habits, but the tech giant is extending its reach through a new program that looks at purchases at brick-and-mortar stores.

The program, called Store Sales Measurement, was launched in May. It uses a proprietary algorithm that takes anonymous credit and debit card data and matches those transactions against users’ Gmail and search information to track how many people made in-store purchase after clicking on an online ad.

Privacy advocates are not happy with the program. The Electronic Privacy Information Center is filing a complaint with the FTC on Monday over privacy concerns.

Google’s statement: "This type of sales measurement is common and before we launched our solution, we invested in building a new, custom encryption technology that ensures users' data remains private, secure, and anonymous. We do not have access to any identifiable user’s credit and debit card data from our partners for this product, nor do we share any personal user information with our partners. We only use data for users that have consented to have their Web and App activity associated with their Google account, which users can opt-out of at any time.”


Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), an independent privacy rights group based in D.C., the group filing a complaint to the FTC regarding Google’s Store Sales Measurement program

Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a non-profit technology think tank