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Google misled consumers on location data collection: Court

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A court in Australia has ruled that Google misled consumers on how it collected personal location data on Android mobile devices for almost two years.

Justice Thomas Thawley from the Australian Federal Court ruled that Google, between January 2017 and December 2018, misrepresented the “location history” setting.

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According to the judge, the Google Account setting allegedly helped Google collect, keep, or use “personally identifiable data about their location when consumers first create an account,” reports ZDNet.

The decision brought an end to a legal fight that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) commenced one and a half years ago.

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Google said in a statement that it is reviewing its options, including a possible appeal.

“The court rejected many of the ACCC’s broad claims. We disagree with the remaining findings and are currently reviewing our options, including a possible appeal,” the company said.

“We provide robust controls for location data and are always looking to do more — for example, we recently introduced auto delete options for Location History, making it even easier to control your data,” the Google spokesperson added.

In 2019, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Google and its Australian outpost to court over allegations that the search giant misled consumers about the location data collected on Android devices.

“This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Google threatened to pull its Search engine from Australia if a media bargaining law that directed Google to pay news publishers, goes into effect. The News Media Bargaining Code has now come into effect.

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