The Australian Federal Court has ordered Google to pay an A$60 million ($65m) fine for making misleading representations to consumers about the collection and use of their personal location data.
The penalty followed a case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which Google lost in April last year. Justice Thomas Thawley ruled the firm misled consumers about personal location data collected through Android mobile devices between January 2017 and December 2018.
Google misled consumers into thinking they had disabled location tracking on Android smartphones by making opting-out a two-step process, with a second step that was not obvious, Justice Thawley said in his judgment.
That meant that, until a change in late 2018, the users of some Android phones had their location tracked even if they had ticked “No” or “Do not collect” in settings.
In April last year, when Google was found guilty by an Australian Federal Court, our regulator said it was keeping a “watching brief”, but had no other comment
Some 1.3 million Google accounts in Australia may have been effected by the consumer law breach- ACCC statement
Google took remedial steps and had addressed all of the contravening conduct by December 20, 2018, meaning that users were no longer shown the misleading screens.
Companies need to be transparent about the types of data that they are collecting and how the data is collected and may be used, so that consumers can make informed decisions about who they share that data with.