Australian Federal Court Finds Google Engaged in Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

Google faces massive fines in Australia after a court found the tech giant engaged in “misleading or deceptive” conduct on how it collects location data from device users.

The case against Google was filed by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) regarding personal location data collected by Google through Android mobile devices between January 2017 and December 2018.

The federal court ruled that when consumers start a new Google Account Google did not clarify that the Location History setting was the only Google Account setting that affected location data collected by Google. 

The ACCC also claimed that the Google “Web & App Activity” also allowed Google to collect, store and use personally identifiable location data by default.

“I conclude that Google’s conduct assessed as a whole conveyed a representation that having ‘web & app activity’ turned ‘on’ would not allow Google to obtain, retain and use personal data about the user’s location” explained Justice Thomas Thawley.

The Australian federal court will now have to determine how it would be considered a breach and who would be affected.

ACCC Rod Simms clarified that they will seek a penalty for Google in the “many millions” with as much as $1.1m per breach. 

Google said that they are reviewing options, including a possible appeal.

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