Google misled Australian customers about collection of location data

Google has partially misled its Australian Android customers about collecting and using their location data, as the Federal Court of Australia ruled now.

Google has been known for its wide range of services offered to smartphone customers. Starting from Android, it offers many apps such as Google Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, and so on.

Though there were concerns regarding privacy with these apps, authorities have not taken significant action.

Now, the Federal Court of Australia ruled a verdict against the company since the case against Google was “partially made out.”

Google vs. ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has now proved how Google partially misled the consumers. The tech giant used the location settings to mislead and collect location data from the consumers in 2017.

The commission said that the company did these actions between March 9, 2017, and November 29, 2018, in Australia.

The ACCC alleged that the company gave people the impression of opting out of permitting to collect location data. This option was named “location history” in account settings, and the setting was in “off” as default.

But, the real issue was with the option “web and app activity.” If this option was “on,” then the tech company can still collect location data. This option was “on” by default.

Partially Misleading settings

Justice Thomas Thawley said that this move was “misleading for Google to not properly disclose to consumers that both settings had to be switched off if consumers didn’t want Google to collect, keep and use their location data.”

The Federal Court also held that “these default settings meant that Google LLC could obtain, retain and use personal location data when a user was using various apps, including Google services such as Google Maps.”

The Chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, said that “This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online.” The company Spokesperson released a statement, saying that they are reviewing “options, including a possible appeal.”

The company also noted that the court did not entertain all claims of the ACCC.

This verdict is significant in the era of tech companies becoming data collecting giants with a growing customer base. This verdict highlights the importance of the protection of the privacy of customers in the world.

Tech companies and private individuals should assume responsibility and respect for their customers’ data to be safe in good hands.

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Image courtesy of Patryk Kamenczak/Pexels

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