The Australian Competition Authority (ACCC) has fined Google 60 million Australian dollars (41.6 million euros) after the company deceived Android users about location.
A fine for Google in Australia related to localization
Australia’s federal court ordered the search giant to pay the fine for violating the country’s consumer law. The decision stems from Google’s misleading claim that only Android’s “Location History” setting was responsible for collecting, storing and using personally identifiable data about the user’s location. . This means that Google covered up how the web and app activity setting on Android phones also allowed it “to collect, store and use personally identifiable location data when enabled”according to the ACCC.
The ACCC added that this particular setting is enabled by default. The incident occurred between January 2017 and December 2018, prompting the authority to initiate proceedings against Google and its Australian subsidiary in October 2019.
“We can confirm that we have agreed to settle the matter regarding the historical conduct from 2017 to 2018”responded a Google spokesperson. “We’ve invested heavily in making location information simple to manage and easy to understand with industry-first tools like automatic deletion controls, while dramatically minimizing the amount of data stored.”. The company has undertaken to carry out “continuous updates that give users control and transparency, while providing the most useful products possible”.
According to the ACCC’s estimate, 1.3 million Google account owners in Australia may have viewed the misleading location claim. Google fixed this issue in December 2018 and stopped showing misleading screens to Android users.