The Australian Federal Court has ruled that Google provides incomplete and misleading information to users about the use of personal location data. The case was brought by the Australian regulator ACCC, which was proved right on Friday.
The case revolves around a setting on Android smartphones regarding “location data sharing, location history and” web and app activity “. Users were mistakenly under the impression that Google could not collect location history data if the feature that tracks it was turned off.
However, the tech giant was able to do this as long as the web and app activity feature remained on. This setting is always on by default. Users were not clearly informed about this.
“This is a major win for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their online privacy,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
The court has yet to determine exactly what rules Google has violated and how often the tech giant has been in violation. Sims says the regulator wants to demand a fine of “many millions” depending on the number of violations.
Whether Google will appeal the decision is not yet known. A spokesperson says the company is “investigating what options there are”.