Is Google tracking location without permission? FTC probe urged, Australia inquiry begins

15 May, 2018, 22:32 | Author: Carmen Reese
  • Android Apps Chrome OS Notification Snoozing

"Charges for transmission of data over a cellular connection, including any location-related data, would be governed by a user's mobile carrier plan", Google said.

The ACCC together with the Australian Privacy Commissioner are now reviewing the revealed information. 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.

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.

Australia's ACCC is using information from Oracle to investigate Google and Android's potential privacy issues and excess mobile data usage.

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According to experts from Oracle, Google collected this data to help advertisers. Oracle claimed that Google is responsible for approximately A$500 million in data usage. The ACCC is particularly concerned that digital platforms like Google and Facebook have tremendous influence on the advertising market. This reportedly contains location info, even the place location providers are turned off, with no apps put in, and the place no SIM card is inserted. "When you use Google services we may collect and process information about your actual location", says Google's privacy policy. Fortune further reports that "Oracle also said Android devices sent Google detailed information on people's searches and surfing". "We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the Privacy Commissioner". Unless the phone is off, Google is able to constantly track it, whether their phones are in active use or set to airplane mode.

A gig of data now costs about $3.60-$4.50 a month.

Earlier this year, social media giant Facebook apologized after Web marketing firm Cambridge Analytica was accused of obtaining users' data without permission for the 2016 election campaign of US President Donald Trump. Everyone who uses Google services must agree to these terms and conditions, but there is now a debate over whether this consent is valid.

The apps also retain the ability to change the launcher icon and their "running apps" icon in the system settings once installed, again using well-known icons such as Google Play or Google Maps to avoid suspicion, as well as pushing content such as ads or scams to the device.

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