In yet another setback for Google in Australia, the country’s federal court, on Friday, found that the internet search giant was misleading consumers about the personal location data it collects via Android smartphones.
Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), said that the court found that Google’s claims of collecting information only from the location history setting on user devices between January 2017 and December 2018 were false.
The ACCC noted that Google also collected data whenever a user turned on a setting to control web and application activity. Notably, the setting was reportedly turned on by default on the devices, thereby helping Google to store and use the data collected without doing many efforts.
The court also found that users weren’t informed that turning off location history wouldn’t stop Google from collecting location data if the “Web & App Activity” setting was turned on. The regulator is now seeking penalties from Google. However, it hasn’t specified the amount.
In response to ACCC’s findings, a Google spokesman said that the company rejects many of the competition regulator’s claims. “The company disagreed with the remaining findings and was reviewing its options, including a possible appeal,” the spokesperson said.
This isn’t the first time when Google has found itself in muddy waters in Australia. In the past few months, the tech giant was embroiled in legal action with the Australian government. The authorities have been pushing Google and Facebook to pay digital media firms for hosting their content on the online platforms.