Google misled customers about their personal location data collected through their Android mobile devices. This should have happened in 2017 and 2018.
The problem was supposed to arise because the company’s “location history” setting on the phone was supposed to be the only way the company could collect users’ location data. However, the Australian Competition Commission (ACCC) said the problem also arose in that Google was also collecting information regarding location data by tracking activity on the web and in apps.
“Google, one of the world’s largest companies, was able to keep the location data collected through the ‘Web & App Activity setting and that retained data could be used by Google to target ads to some consumers, even if those consumers had the ‘Location History’ setting turned off.”
Approximately 1.3 million users with a Google account were affected. However, despite having implemented all corrective measures in 2018, the company will now be forced to pay this fine anyway.
Google as a warning to others
Gina Cass-Gottlieb of the ACCC said.
“This significant penalty imposed by the Court today sends a strong message to digital platforms and other businesses, large and small, that they must not mislead consumers about how their data is being collected and used.”
So from that perspective, it looks like this case is becoming a sort of deterrent case for Google and a warning to others.
The court has also put Google on notice to follow these privacy policies in the future, to train the necessary staff on consumer law in the country and last but not least, to pay the ACCC’s costs for this case.