Alphabet Misled Consumers on Data Collection, Australia Says

An Australia court found that data-collection settings on Android devices prompted consumers to think they were turned off when they were not.
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An Australian court found that Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Report misled some consumers about how personal data is collected on Android mobile devices, the country's competition regulator said on Friday.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the case involves certain “location data collection, location history and 'web & app activity'” settings on Android devices.

“The court found that Google wrongly claimed it could only collect information from the location history setting on user devices between January 2017 and December 2018,” Reuters reported.

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“A setting to control web and application activity, when turned on, also enabled Google to collect, store and use the data and was turned on by default on the devices,” the publication added.

“Users were not informed that turning off location history but leaving the “Web & App Activity” setting on would allow Google to continue to collect data, the court found.”

A Google spokesman told the news service that 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 regulator is seeking to have the parent of Google, the Mountain View, Calif., tech giant, affirm wrongdoing and pay penalties of an unspecified amount.

“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.

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This case follows many legal battle tech giants have been having in Australia.

In March, Facebook  (FB) - Get Report agreed to a three-year deal with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.  (NWSA) - Get Report after it resisted the country’s new laws, which would have required social-media companies to pay fees to news publishers to share content on their platforms.

Alphabet shares at last check were little changed around $2,287.