Google is under investigation in Australia for data collection via Android devices

Cristina Cross
May 15, 2018

While Google's initial response refuted numerous claims made by Quartz, and explained again and again how Google and Android handles sensitive location data, the letter to the FTC again uses the report as its main basis. The US based software company is seeking royalties for Google's use of some of the Java language, while Google argues it should be able to use Java without paying a fee.

According to Oracle, Google is accessing information such as barometric pressure readings and coordinates, which could be used to work out whether someone is located outside or in a shopping centre.

In Australia, 1 GB of data costs roughly $3.60-$4.50 a month. "This allows it to know where a device is connecting or attempting to connect without using the phone's location service". The Australian Commission for the Protection of Competition and Consumers and the Privacy Commissioner say they are looking at the findings in the report.

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.

In Australia, 10 million people use an Android phone, which is almost half of the population.

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Oracle is of course in the middle of an ongoing lawsuit against Google in the U.S. with regards to Google supposedly using protected Java APIs in Android.

Although Google insists that data tracking is lawful when done with the permission of mobile users, data privacy advocates are uncertain if it's being made clear enough to Android users that it includes their mobile devices as well - leaving open the question of how valid that consent is.

Facebook's massive Cambridge Analytica scandal brought to light the treasure trove of information internet companies collect. Europe's GDPR law, which is supposed to better protect user data, is another major event of the first half of the year, as it brings renewed attention on user data and privacy.

"Users can see what data is collected and how it's used in one easy place, My Account, and control it all from there". It does so by tracking them and collecting information about their browsing habits.

Like the US senators, Australian regulators question whether consumers have given valid consent for the extent of Google's information collection. There is no evidence if the search giant has ceased such practices, or is still continuing with it.

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