Google investigated by Australian regulator over its Android data harvesting practices

Jo Lloyd
May 15, 2018

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has confirmed this development and has said that investigation is on against the search giant. "Most consumers do not understand the level, granularity, and reach of Google's data collection".

As per the report, Oracle experts have said that consumer data gets used even if Google Maps is not in use or Aeroplane mode is switched on. "We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the Privacy Commissioner".

He added that one could choose not to opt in to location sharing and claimed Oracle's presentation was "sleight of hand".

That information could have been used by Google to determine the location of the devices even if location-determining features like Global Positioning System were disabled in the phone's settings. 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.

Google told the news outlet in November that the location information was never stored or used; it was rather used to "further improve the speed and performance of message delivery". Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the country's privacy commissioner said they were reviewing the findings of a report by Oracle Corp.

Australia's competition regulator is investigating accusations that Google harvests a large amount of data from Android devices, including detailed location information.

"Often the actual user choice is a screen that provides two choices, neither of which is a clear "No". Google claims they developed "cleanroom" versions, however the lawsuit has gone on for some time and after a trip on appeal by Oracle to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in March, Google was found to have infringed upon their copyright.

Google then uses this information to help advertisers.

Google tracking Android users with help from nearby cellular towers was confirmed by the company itself previous year.

A spokesperson for the company replied that users had given their permission to have their data collected when they chose to use an Android handset.

Enclosed with the senators' letter was previous correspondence conducted with Google about a separate privacy flaw reported by Quartz in 2017.

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