14th May 2018

ACCC to investigate how Google uses your data

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What Google does with your data
Leon Della Bosca

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating Google, after claims that the tech giant is using customers’ data plans to secretly track their movements.

Accusations over Google using around $580 million worth of users’ data in their phone plan has the ACCC on the front foot, with the watchdog Chairman Rod Sims saying “My people are looking into it”.

Mr Sims was recently briefed by US experts from computer and software corporation Oracle, who exposed intercepted, decoded messages sent to Google from smart devices running the Android operating system.

Oracle claims that Google is draining around a gigabyte of mobile data a month while it secretly collects information to help advertisers.



This costs Australians between $3.60 and $4.50 per month, and with around 10 million Australians using the Android operating system, Google could potentially be on the hook for significant compensation.

While Google’s disclosure on privacy includes being tracked when you search for a restaurant on Google Maps, it does not seem to say anything about being tracked when Maps is not in use. In fact, the only time Google is not monitoring it users is when their phone is turned off.

According to Oracle, Google monitors your movements, combining your coordinates to see which retail stores you are near, so it can prove to advertisers which online ads have led to store visits.

“The more we get into this inquiry the more we realise there are lots of issues (around) competition and privacy,” said Mr Sims.

A spokesperson for Google said that location tracking is optional and that users can see what data is collected and how it’s used in “My Account, and control it”. YourLifeChoices has also published information about how to stop Google tracking you.

Read more at www.accc.gov.au

Did you know your data was being used in this way? Does it bother you?


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COMMENTS

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patti
15th May 2018
11:21am
This is why I don't enable the internet on my phone. I had to buy a Smart phone a couple of years ago, and realised quickly that not only did having internet services use up all my data, it meant I could be tracked and bombarded with unwanted emails. I use the internet when at home. I don't need emails, Facebook etc while I'm out. I don't like people who constantly check their phones if out with me, the height of rudeness. There is almost nothing in the day which cannot wait an hour or two (unless you are a cardiac surgeon on 24 hr call). I think I benefit from no constant phone use.
Knows-a-lot
15th May 2018
11:59am
My praxis is identical to yours.
Rosret
15th May 2018
12:59pm
Its not a secret. They keep telling me where I am and asking me what I thought of the place.
I just switch off the wifi and save battery power.
Sundays
15th May 2018
5:23pm
I agree, no secret. Might be useful if you ever need an alibi.


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