Australia finds Google misled users over data collection

A seek for ‘Australia News’ on the Google homepage, organized on a desktop laptop in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

David Gray | Bloomberg by way of Getty Images

Australia’s federal court discovered that Google misled users about private location data collected via Android cell gadgets between 2017 and 2018, the country’s competition regulator said Friday.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) — which launched legal proceedings against Google in 2019 — stated the ruling was an “important victory for consumers” with regard to the safety of on-line privateness.

Google misled Android users into considering the search large might acquire private data provided that the “location history” setting was on, the ACCC stated. The courtroom discovered that Google might nonetheless acquire, retailer and use personally identifiable location data if the setting for “web and application activity” was on — even when “location history” was turned off.

“This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the Court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims stated in a press release.

We disagree with the remaining findings and are at the moment reviewing our choices, together with a attainable attraction.

A Google spokesperson identified that the courtroom rejected lots of the ACCC’s broad claims.

“We disagree with the remaining findings and are currently reviewing our options, including a possible appeal,” the Google spokesperson stated in a press release.

Following the ACCC’s authorized proceedings, the tech large has since improved consumer transparency and management, together with an auto-delete perform for location historical past and an incognito mode in its Maps product.

The ACCC stated it’s searching for declarations, pecuniary penalties, publication orders and compliance orders however didn’t specify the quantity.

“In addition to penalties, we are seeking an order for Google to publish a notice to Australian consumers to better explain Google’s location data settings in the future,” Sims stated, including it might permit users to make knowledgeable selections about whether or not they need to depart sure Google settings enabled.

The competitors regulator and the tech large beforehand confronted off over a media legislation that might require the likes of Google and Facebook to pay for information. Australia passed that law in parliament in February.