Google Faces Australian Inquiry Over User Data Harvesting Concerns With Android

15 May, 2018, 22:36 | Author: Grady Montgomery

Quartz first reported in January about the sly and confusing ways Google cajoles Android users to opt into Location History, and the plethora of data points the company collects when it's enabled.

Both the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the nation's Privacy Commissioner said they were reviewing the report's findings.

As per a report in The Queensland Times, the ACCC is investigating accusations that Google is using up to $580-million worth of Australians' data yearly to track their movement and give that data to advertisers. The data is apparently used to help target users for advertising according to their location. The company is being said to send back the location of Android users to its servers even if the location-based services are switched off. Oracle also found that Google could also be gathering round 1GB of person data monthly. Moreover, the phone doesn't need to have any apps installed, or even a SIM card inserted.

We discussed Google's utter disregard for your privacy in numerous announcements seen at I/O 2018 keynote, on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

Google's privacy policy states that they save "When you search for a restaurant on Google Maps or watch a video on YouTube, for example, we process information about that activity - including information like the video you watched, device IDs, IP addresses, cookie data, and location". Regulators found that telecom service customers are unknowingly paying for gigabytes of mobile data mined by the US tech giant.




"Some mobile plans may only include a few gigabytes of data so if Google is harvesting a gigabyte of data, it is a very real cost to consumers", said David Vaile, chairman of the industry group, the Australian Privacy Foundation.

For context, Oracle has actively been in court with Google for more than 5 years over whether Android's usage of Java was considered fair use, and is certainly not an unbiased party.

Transferring this information to Google means the use of gigabytes of data paid by consumers in the form of data packages from telecommunication service providers.

According to Oracle, Google is accessing information such as barometric pressure readings and coordinates, which could be used to work out whether someone is located outside or in a shopping centre.

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