Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Google is being investigated in Australia for allegedly collecting customer data

Grady Vargas | 15 May, 2018, 22:37

The company has also claimed in the past that Google's Android data exfiltration activities go as far as recording the cell mast users' smartphones are connected to.

"In the case of mobile devices, any charges for transmission of data over a cellular connection - including any location-related data - would be governed by a user's mobile carrier plan".

Volvo and Google first teamed up previous year when Volvo first announced it would be using an Android-based infotainment system in future cars.

They cited a Quartz report in November that showed the company collects location information from Android users even when they have turned off location services, haven't used any apps or even inserted a SIM card.

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Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been approached by Oracle, and they have been informed that Google is unethically syphoning off data from Android users' phone, and spying on them. "This allows it to know where a device is connecting or attempting to connect without using the phone's location service". For instance, using barometric pressure readings, the search giant can track which level of a shopping mall you are on. The Daily Telegraph reports that the ACCC brought in experts from Oracle for information on an inquiry into "digital platforms including Google and Facebook", particularly in regards to consumer knowledge of location data usage.

Oracle further claims that this data transfers to Google, which could be up to gigabytes per month, and is being paid by the users themselves. Presently, a gigabyte of data costs about $3.60-$4.50 a month. Google attempted to address this by giving users more options to adjust the display of their phones, but it seems that they aren't quite done yet. They also argue that that despite Google's characterization of the feature as "opt-in", their investigation of the service "found that the consent process frequently mischaracterizes the service and degrades the functionality of products in order to push users into providing permission".

"Users can see what data is collected and how it's used in one easy place, My Account, and control it all from there".

At that time, the allegations also mentioned the possible sale of location data to advertisers by Google, who could then serve contextual and location-specific ads to the user. There is no evidence if the search giant has ceased such practices, or is still continuing with it.

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