Federal Court finds Google misled consumers on data collection

Federal Court finds Google misled consumers on data collection

The Federal Court has found Google misled consumers about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices, following a world-first enforcement action brought by Australia's consumer rights watchdog.

The case saw the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) allege Google misrepresented that a 'Location History' setting was the only account setting that affected whether the digital giant kept or used personal data.

In fact, another account setting titled 'Web & App Activity' also enabled Google to collect, store and use personally identifiable location data when it was turned on. That setting was on by default.

The Federal Court found that when consumers accessed the 'Location History' setting on their Android device they were misled because Google did not inform them that by leaving the 'Web & App Activity' setting switched on, Google would continue to collect, store and use their personally identifiable location data.

Similarly, when consumers accessed the 'Web & App Activity' setting on their Android device, they were misled because Google did not inform them that the setting was relevant to the collection of personal location data.

ACCC chair Rod Sims has described the watchdog's success in the Federal Court as an "important victory for consumers".

"The Court's decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers," Sims said.

"Today's decision is an important step to make sure digital platforms are up front with consumers about what is happening with their data and what they can do to protect it.

"Companies that collect information must explain their settings clearly and transparently so consumers are not misled. Consumers should not be kept in the dark when it comes to the collection of their personal location data."

The ACCC is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties, publications orders, and compliance orders. This will be determined at a later date.

"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 said.

"This will ensure that consumers can make informed choices about whether certain Google settings that personal collect location data should be enabled."

Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

Business News Australia

Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support

A game changer? Aspiring to the new standard on workplace mental health
Partner Content
Work health and safety regulators have been more active in the area of mental health ri...
Aon
Advertisement

Related Stories

Facebook versus News: Advertising is the real problem

Facebook versus News: Advertising is the real problem

The fight between Facebook and the Morrison government is over al...

Parliament passes media bargaining code

Parliament passes media bargaining code

A media bargaining code, developed to bring a sense of balance to...

Facebook asks Australian news sites to be friends again

Facebook asks Australian news sites to be friends again

The Australian Government has struck a deal with social media gia...

Game on Facebook: How to bypass the social media giant

Game on Facebook: How to bypass the social media giant

In the world of PR and media, it's important to act quickly a...