Science & Technology

Google misled users about data collection: Australian court

Sydney, Australia, Apr 16 (EFE).- Australia’s Federal Court ruled Friday that American technology company Google misled users about personal location data collected through their Android mobile devices between January 2017 and December 2018.

“I am convinced that Google’s conduct, assessed as a whole, has been misleading or may have misled or misled ordinary members of the group identified by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission),” Judge Thomas Thawley said in the ruling published online.

The commission, which filed its lawsuit in October 2019, said the company wrongly claimed that by creating a Google account and setting it up on Android devices, “Location History” was the only way to collect, save or use data from the user’s location.

However, another Google account setting called “Web and App Activity,” enabled by default, also allowed this information to be collected from users, even if “Location History” was disabled.

Google also failed to inform consumers that the “Web and application activity” setting was relevant to collecting personal location data, according to the commission.

“Google’s conduct, evaluated as a whole, conveyed the idea that the activation of ‘Activity of the web and applications’ would not allow it to obtain, retain and use personal data about the user’s location,” the judge said.

“Companies collecting information must explain their settings clearly and transparently so that consumers are not misled,” the commission’s President Rod Sims said in a statement.

The senior official, who called this an “important victory” for consumers, especially those concerned about online privacy protection, said the commission wants fines to be imposed and Google to publish a notice explain these measures in future location settings. EFE


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