Google will be paying a $60 million fine for its location data collection process that misled Australian customers from January 2017 to December 2018.
As reported by Australian Broadcasting Corporation, this was the sanction after a federal court found Google in the wrong for continually tracking the actions of Android and Pixel users unless deciding to decline Location History and Web & App Activity tracking. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) complained that these users had to say “No” or “Do Not Collect” to such tracking actions. Justice Thomas Thawley found this practice misleading since choosing “No” or “Do Not Collect” to one option can still be tracked. Users had to decline both so their location would not be tracked
In addition to this, he found that enabling “Web and App Activity” was misleading since tracking the location did not make sense when using a web form. The ideal scenario would be for Google to make sufficient notifications to clarify that location data would still be collected if one of the options were still selected. Unfortunately, Google had switched on its Web and App Activity tracking option to default.
The ACCC found that almost 1.3 million Australian users were affected by this. Google, on the other hand, refutes this and believes a narrow group was involved.
Apart from its fine, Google updated its settings to fix the issues that stemmed from the complaint. The court also tasked Google to make measures for a compliant commitment as well as to let its staff be informed of Australian Consumer law.
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