ACCC Go After Google Claiming Data Breach
Hours after Google announced a 23% fall in profits the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACC) is now having a crack at trying to take Google down a peg in Australia.
The issue relates to data and claims that Google has breached consumer laws between January 2017 until late 2018.
The Consumer Watchdog claims that Google Australia engaged in misleading conduct by making false or misleading representations about the personal location data that Google collects for use when accessing these apps:
- Google Play Store
- Google Search
- Google Chrome
- Google Maps
The representation was made, claims the ACCC when consumers went to set up a Google account on an Android phone or tablet.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims’ alleges that as a result of these on-screen representations, Google has collected, kept and used highly sensitive and valuable personal information about consumers’ location without them making an informed choice’.
Between January 2017 and late 2018, the ACCC alleges Google misled consumers by not properly disclosing that both settings had to be switched off if they did not want Google to collect, keep and use their location data.
“We allege that Google misled consumers by staying silent about the fact that another setting also had to be switched off.”
“Many consumers make a conscious decision to turn off settings to stop the collection of their location data, but we allege that Google’s conduct may have prevented consumers from making that choice.”
It comes after the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry report which recommended legislation be strengthed by updating the definition of “personal information” to capture technical data like location information.
Furthermore, it recommended consent requirements to ensure consumers make informed decisions about data collection by digital platforms.
“Transparency and inadequate disclosure issues involving digital platforms and consumer data were a major focus of our Digital Platforms Inquiry, and remain one of the ACCC’s top priorities.”
“We consider that because of Google’s failure to disclose this use of data, consumers were and still are deprived of the opportunity to make an informed choice about whether to share their personal location data with Google”.