The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) is a regulatory body that promotes fair trade in the Australian market to protect and benefit consumers, business and the community.
The ACCC has recently launched court proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Google. The ACCC’s argument is that Google has been misusing the location data of its users, from at least January 2017, in breach of Australian Consumer Law.
The ACCC Chairperson Rod Sims states that consumers did not have the opportunity to make an ‘informed choice’ about how Google collects, keeps and uses their highly sensitive and personal information, because Google did not make it clear that both ‘Location History’ and ‘Web & App Activity’ settings on the phone had to be switched off if users did not want their location data to be retained. Instead, consumers were likely to have understood that by turning off their Location History setting, Google would stop collecting the Location data. Google also failed to disclose that they may use the data for purposes unrelated to the user’s use of Google services, such as advertising and production of statistics about users to be shared with third party advertisers.
“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.” [Rod Sims, ACCC Chair]
The ACCC says this is the first time a regulator anywhere in the world has taken on the global tech giant over the misuse of personal data. The ACCC seeks orders for a penalty and the establishment of a compliance program.
If you have any questions in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors on 02 8999 9837 or by filling out the enquiry box.