The tech giant is facing a $60 million fine for misleading Android users about how their location data was collected.
Over the course of two years, from January 2017 to December of 2018, Google continued to track some users’ Android phones despite them having disabled their “Location History.” Customers assumed turning off this setting meant their phone wouldn’t track their location, however another default account setting called “Web & App Activity” did allow the company to “collect, store and use personally identifiable location data”.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) estimates that more than 1.3 million Australian Google accounts were affected. The Australian Federal Court found that the company had breached the law by misleading customers about how they collect and use location data. Google eventually took remedial steps to address the issue, which suggests that pausing location history now stops location data collection.
The search giant seems to be familiar with misleading its users. France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) fined Google back in January after the company made it difficult for web visitors to reject tracking cookies by hiding the option behind multiple clicks.
While it’s not uncommon for large corporations to use obscure tactics in order to gather more data on their customers, it’s a reminder that protecting your personal information is paramount to remaining safe online.
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