Google convicted Australia’s misleading customer in data collection

Federal Court of Australia Google was found guilty The number of misleading customers about personal location data collection on Android mobile devices in the world’s first enforcement action by the country’s consumer watchdog.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken legal action against Google’s “misleading behavior” since October 2019.

“This is an important win for consumers, especially those who are concerned about online privacy, because the court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that large companies should not mislead their customers. “Accentia Chairman Rod Sims said. Said..

“Today’s decision is an important step in proactively ascertaining consumers what is happening with their data and what they can do to protect it,” Sims said. ..

ACCC Claim Google has violated Australian consumer law since at least January 2017 when it gave users the false impression that they would opt out of location data collection when the “Location History” setting was turned off.

According to court findings, Google should turn off both “Location History” and “Web and App Activity” settings if customers do not want to collect, retain, or use personal data. I didn’t properly disclose that to my customers. ..

Epoch Times Photo
Men are using their new Google Pixel 4 smartphone at the Google launch event in New York City on October 15, 2019. (Drew Angeler / Getty Images)

Judge Thomas Thorley, a federal court judge, concluded that Google’s actions “did not mislead all rational users.” However, he said it was likely to mislead rational users.

“A reasonable number or percentage of users who have been or are likely to be misunderstood has nothing to do with the purpose of proving the breach,” Thawley said in a judgment.

The ACCC chair said he was “absolutely pleased” with the court’s positive results and said it was “the first decision of its kind in the world” on the issue of location data.

“Companies that collect information need to explain their settings clearly and transparently so that consumers don’t get them misunderstood,” Sims said. “When it comes to collecting personal location data, don’t expose consumers to the dark.”

However, Google said the court dismissed many of the ACCC’s allegations and disagreed with the final ruling. The company also declared that it was considering the possibility of an appeal.

“We disagree with the rest of the findings and are currently considering our options, including possible appeals,” said a Google spokeswoman. Said..

The Australian Institute for Responsible Technology Think Tank Center (CRT) said the case highlighted “the complexity of Big Tech’s terms and conditions.”

“In reality, most people know little or no how much of their data is used on Google and online platforms,” ​​said CRT director Peter Lewis. Said.. “Australia Institute survey shows that college education is required and it takes an average of 74 minutes to read most terms and conditions.

“It’s not surprising that people end up in this strange world between accepting terms and not understanding them,” Lewis said.

Rob Nichols, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales, told The Epoch Times that the ruling was a major decision affecting the approach to a “click-through” agreement on a global scale.

But he said it wouldn’t affect Google’s current business model.

“It was interesting that the ruling took the view that the act was only partially misleading,” Nicoles said. “this is, [Google’s] Appeal process. “