An Australian federal court has found that Google has misled Australian users about how to collect personal location data from Android Appliances.
Η Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had exercised treatment against Google, for that matter, a year and a half ago.
On Friday, the judge Thomas Thawley announced that Google, between January 2017 and December 2018, incorrectly presented the location history setting as the only Google Account setting associated with the collection, retention, and use of location data by Google.
Thawley said that Google had not revealed (from March 9, 2017 to November 29, 2018) to Australian users that there was another setting, the "Web and Application Activity" (web and app activity), which also allowed Google to collect, store and use privacy location, when activated. Note that this setting is enabled on Android devices, from default.
"This is a major victory for consumers, especially those interested in their online privacy, as the court ruling sends a strong message to Google and others that large companies should not mislead their customers.", Said the president of the ACCC, Rod Sims, and added that digital platforms should inform users about how they use their data.
The punishment for Google's misleading behavior has not yet been finalized. Thawley has ordered the sentences to be finalized within the next fortnight.
Google said it is currently considering its options, including possible objection.
"The court rejected many of the ACCC claims. We disagree with the other findings and are currently considering our options, including a possible appeal. We provide strong controls for location data and always try to do more - for example, we recently added auto-delete options for Location History, making it even easier to control your data", Said a spokesman for Google.
On the other hand, Rod Sims said: “In addition to the penalties, we ask Google to issue a notice to Australian consumers to better explain location data settings. This will ensure that consumers are informed and able to decide whether certain Google settings that collect location data should be enabled".
According to the ACCC, companies that collect information should explain with clarity and transparency what exactly they are doing so that consumers know what is going on with their data.