Google to pay A$60m fine for misleading Australians

As reported on August 13th, following a long-running court battle against the competition watchdog, Google will pay a 60 million Australian dollar fine for misleading Australians about the collection and use of their Android users’ location data.

The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) says its best estimate, based on available data, is that 1.3 million Australian Google user accounts may have viewed a screen which led them to believe the tech giant was not collecting their personal location data.

Chairwoman of ACCC Gina Cass-Gottlieb said that the court’s decision has sent a strong message to digital platforms and other online businesses operators about how to collect and use consumers’ data.

One of Google’s settings titled “Web & App Activity” allowed location data to be shared with Google, with location-oriented ads to consumers. The data can be kept and the retained data could still be used by Google even if their consumers had the “Location History” setting turned off. “Companies need to be transparent about the types of data that they are collecting and how the data is collected and how it may be used, so that consumers can make informed decisions about who they share that data with,” ACCC Chair Cass-Gottlieb said.

ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry were made between January 2017 and December 2018, when Google took steps to remove the contravening conduct. And the court ruled in favour of the ACCC in April 2021, a $60m Australian Dollar penalty was announced by Court on August 12th, 2022. The penalty was given to the US based Google.

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