Australia: Court bans Google from collecting data

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SYDNEY (awp / afp) – Google has violated a law that collects location data by tricking users of the Android operating system into small devices, an Australian court ruled in a landmark ruling on Friday.

The U.S. technology company could face “millions” in fines in the case, which has been taken to court by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Australia (ACCC), its director Rod Sims pointed out.

Federal Court in 2017 and 2018 collected their location information, even though they chose not to share data from “Location History” that Google had deceived users of phones and tablets with its Android operating system.

It ruled that Google did not specifically make it clear that allowing “web and application activity” to be monitored as a separate entity on their devices involves location data.

Numerous studies conducted around the world have shown that the collection of location data on Android and iPhone devices is done without the knowledge of users or their explicit consent.

Such data is especially valuable for advertisers who offer products and services based on location.

According to Mr Sims, this is the first decision made in the world.

“Important Success”

“This is a significant success for consumers, especially for anyone who cares about their online privacy. The court ruling sends a strong message to Google and other companies: big business should not deceive their customers,” he said.

In his judgment, Federal Court Judge Thomas Tawley “partially” accepted the ACCC’s complaint against Google, noting that “the company’s conduct would not have deceived all discreet users of its service.”

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However, he clarified that Google “misled or misled some sensible users” and that “the number or ratio of intelligent users may or may not be useful” to establish the crime.

The ACCC wants to pay a fine of $ 850,000 (782,000 Swiss francs) for the violation, for a total of “several million” dollars, Sims told ABC Television.

Google opposed the decision, saying it would, in effect, reject some of the ACCC’s “public demands” and only concern some users, and would explore the possibility of an appeal.

afp / fr

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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