Australia’s consumer watchdog is taking Google to court, alleging the tech giant lied to Android users about the information being collected about them.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleges Google was able to collect location information about a user, even when ‘Location History’ was switched off.
The ACCC says ‘Web & App Activity’ also need to be switched off for Google to not track a consumer’s whereabouts.
“Google has collected, kept and used highly sensitive and valuable personal information about consumers’ location without them making an informed choice,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
The ACCC has formally instituted proceeding in the Federal Court against both Google LLC and Google Australia.
The consumer watchdog alleges that from January 2017 until late 2018, it was misleading of Google to not disclose to consumers that both settings had to be off if users did not want their personal data tracked and kept.
“Our case is that consumers would have understood as a result of this conduct that by switching off their ‘Location History’ setting, Google would stop collecting their location data, plain and simple,” Mr Sims said.
“We allege that Google misled consumers by staying silent about the fact that another setting also had to be switched off.
“Many consumers make a conscious decision to turn off settings to stop the collection of their location data, but we allege that Google’s conduct may have prevented consumers from making that choice.”
Further, the ACCC alleges that during mid to late 2018, Google told users that the only way to stop their information being collected and kept was to stop using Google services such as Search and Maps, when in fact all user had to do was turn off both ‘Location History’ and Web & Activity’ settings.