CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – A judge on Friday found that Google violated Australian law by misleading users about privacy data collected through Android mobile devices.
The federal court ruled in favor of the Australian Competition Commission, the nation’s Fair Trade Commission, which has been prosecuting Google since October 2019 for alleged violations of consumer law.
Justice Thomas Towley has revealed that Google has misled Android users of personal mobile data collected between January 2017 and December 2018.
“This is a major victory for consumers, especially those concerned about their online privacy, as the court ruling sends a strong message to Google and others that big business should not mislead their customers,” said Rod Sims, chairman of the commission. in the announcement.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the first case in this world,” he added.
Google is considering appealing to the entire federal court.
“The court rejected many of the ACCC’s claims,” Google said in a statement.
“We do not agree with the remaining results; we are currently reviewing our options, including possible appeals,” Google added.
The judge ruled that when users create a new Google Account during the initial setup of their Android device, Google misrepresents that the “Location History” setting is the only Google account setting that affects whether Google collects, stores or uses personally identifiable data. about their location.
But another parameter of the Google Account called Web Application Activity also allowed Google to collect, store, use IDs when they were enabled, and this setting was enabled by default.
The judge also found that when users entered the “Location History” setting on their Android device at the same time to turn off the feature, they were also misled as Google did not notify them by going to “Web և”. from the activity of applications. ” function is enabled, Google will continue to collect, store և use their personally identifiable data.
Similarly, between March 2017 and November 29, 2018, when users later accessed the “Web Apps” setting on their Android device, they were misled because Google did not inform them that the setting may be used to collect personal location data. ,
Google said that the digital platform provides “strong control over location data, always looking to do more.”
The commission is pursuing court rulings and financial penalties against Google, which will be decided later.
The Australian Institute’s Center for Responsible Technology, a research center based in Canberra, said the case “underscores the complexity of Big Tech terms and conditions.”
“The reality is that most people have little idea how much their data is being used by Google և online platforms,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Center.
According to Lewis, according to research by the institute, most reading conditions take an average of 74 minutes, require a university degree, and require more comprehensive consumer data protection.