In Australia, Google is under fire for allegedly harvesting data on millions of Android users. Regulators found that telecom service customers are unknowingly paying for gigabytes of mobile data mined by the U.S. tech giant.
A spokesperson for the company replied that users had given their permission to have their data collected when they decided to use an Android handset.
Australia has launched an investigation into the matter following a report by Oracle on the impact of Google and Facebook on the advertising market in the country. Australia’s Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is reportedly reviewing Oracle’s findings.
The regulator has reportedly met with the report’s author to learn more about how Google services impact customers’ privacy and finances.
We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the Privacy Commissioner,
an ACCC spokesperson said.
Google Quietly Tracking Android Users’ Web Searches
Oracle investigators found that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, secretly tracks users’ web searches and their mobile phones locations if they use an Android smartphone. Android is Google’s mobile operating system.
However, beaming that much data back to Google costs gigabytes of mobile data that customers have unknowingly have been unknowingly paying for thinking that it reflects their data usage.
Even though Google claims that customers have given their consent to hand over the data when they decided to use an Android smartphone, data privacy advocates say that customers are unaware about the real consequences of their decision.
In Australia, 10 million people use an Android phone, which is nearly half of the population.
Australian Privacy Foundation’s head David Vaile noted that many mobile plans offer customers a few gigabytes of mobile data. So, Google’s data collection is very costly to consumers. The country’s telecoms told Reuters that they asked the web search giant to confirm the allegations.
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