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Google Australia Under Investigation for Stealing User Data ……. !!!

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the country's Other Privacy Commissioner are investigating Google regarding the claims that it collects user data from Android smartphones.

 

* Google is reportedly collecting around 1GB of data per month from Android devices in Australia, containing detailed location data.

* Google’s privacy policy agreement covers data collection for its services, but there are questions about the transparency of the agreement.

 

This comes after US-based software company Oracle apparently discovered that Google may be collecting around 1GB of user data per month from Android phones in Austrailia. 

This reportedly includes location information, even where location services are turned off, with no apps installed, and where no SIM card is inserted.Google has mapped IP addresses, Wi-Fi connection points, and mobile towers, which allow it to know where a device is connecting or attempting to connect without using the phone’s location service.

 

The report is part of a larger review of Google's impact on the advertising market.

 

Consumers pay for gigabytes of data that Google uses up.Google is allegedly using up gigabytes of data for transferring user information from Android phones and users end up paying for that to their telecom operators in the form of data packages.However, a Google spokesman said the company has users' permission to collect data. Responding to the privacy concern "Any charges for transmission of data over a cellular connection would be governed by a user's mobile carrier plan. The types and quantity of such data that a user's device transmits would depend on the products or services they use," Google said.

 

There are over 10 million Android users in Australia "If Google is harvesting a gigabyte of data, it is a very real cost to consumers," said David Vaile, chairman of the Australian Privacy Foundation.On the other hand, Australian telcos are seeking confirmation from Google on the accusation. "We are aware of the reports and have asked Google to advise whether they are accurate," a spokesman for Australia's biggest telecom company Telstra said.

 

Australian Android users, of which there are estimated to be around 10 million, are also said to be paying their telecom providers to send this data.We already know that Google uses location data as part of its services (and that you can be tracked without GPS activated). While some users may have been shocked when they first saw their location timeline or when they first heard their Google Assistant voice recordings, these kinds of features are discussed in Google’s privacy policy - which users must accept in order to use Google services. Whether this is transparent enough to help users make informed decisions regarding how their data is handled has come into question, however. Major corporations are currently under scrutiny following the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal and their privacy policies are being more heavily examined.

 

The ACCC has a history of success when investigating major corporations - including Google. One of its complaints regarding deceptive advertising by Google was upheld in 2012. Video game company Valve, which owns the distribution platform Steam, also agreed to a global refund policy following an ACCC investigation. Oracle, meanwhile, has tried to discredit Google a number of times in recent years and Ken Glueck, a senior VP at the company, has even been quoted by Recode as saying  “Google stole Android from us.” That’s all we know so far about the matter but we’ve reached out to Google for comment. 

 

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