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Google Misinformed Customers over Location Data Settings, Australia Law court Catches

Australia’s federal court found Google misinformed certain customers about private location data collected through Android mobile devices. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it is looking for statements and penalties from Google, though it did not specify an amount.

“This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the Court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a declaration.

The law court found that Google mistakenly claimed it could only gather info from the location history setting on user devices between January 2017 and December 2018. A setting to control web and application activity, when turned on, also allowed Google to amass, store and use the data and was turned on by default on the devices.

Users were not informed that turning off location history but leaving the ‘Web & App Activity’ setting on would allow Google to continue to assemble data, the Federal Court found. The law court will need to decide what it considers a breach and how many happened.

A Google spokesperson said “The court rejected many of the ACCC’s broad claims. We disagree with the remaining findings and are currently reviewing our options, including a possible appeal.”