Australian court finds Google misled customers over data collection

The tech giant has been embroiled in legal action in the country in recent months. PHOTO: AFP

CANBERRA (REUTERS) - Australia's federal court found that Alphabet Inc's Google misled consumers about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices, the country's competition regulator said on Friday (April 16).

The tech giant has been embroiled in legal action in the country in recent months as the government mulled and later passed a law to make Google and Facebook pay media companies for content on their platforms.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the court found that Google wrongly claimed it could only collect information 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 enabled Google to collect, store and use the data and was turned on by default on the devices, according to the ACCC.

Users were also not informed that turning off location history but leaving the "Web & App Activity" setting on would allow Google to continue to collect data, the court found.

The regulator said it would seek penalties, but did not specify the amount.

A Google spokesman said that while the court had rejected many of ACCC's claims, the company disagreed with the remaining findings and was reviewing its options, including a possible appeal.

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