Google Fined $60 Million For Illegally Tracking Location of Australians

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has fined Google $60 million for illegally tracking the location of data of over 1.3 million Australians.

Google was blamed for misleading the consumers into believing that – turning the location history off would disable the tracking. But in reality, Google still manages to get the location data from the Web and App Activity setting that’s turned on by default.

Penalizing Google For Illegal Location Tracking

Adding up to the pile of penalties Google has paid or is to be paid, the American company was slapped with a fine of $60 million by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this week.

And it’s due to misleading customers regarding the location tracking in Android devices. The ACCC alleged that Google made people believe that it’d stop tracking them when the location history setting was disabled. But it continued to do so through another Android setting called – “Web and App Activity”.

This option was turned on in every Android smartphone having a Google account in it, by which Google collects the location data from users to map their interests. Google uses this data for potential target ads – which is a major source of income for the company.

ACCC said about 1.3 million Australians were affected by this misleading practice between January 2017 and December 2018. Though Google took remedial action by correcting the language – that it can still obtain the location data even after disabling ‘Location History, it’s too late.

The ACCC launched an investigation into this issue in October 2019, and by April 2021, it concluded that Google had breached the Australian Consumer Law. And now, it announced the penalty amount of $60 million for this. Talking about this, the ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said;

“Companies need to be transparent about the types of data that they are collecting and how the data is collected and may be used so that consumers can make informed decisions about who they share that data with.”

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