GOOGLE HAS a new country that wants a word, and this time it's Australia.
The tech giant is being sent for questioning in Australia's Federal Court over accusations of misusing consumers' location data.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims to be the first regulator to go after Google for misuse of personal data. We're not entirely convinced by that argument, but it's a major step in any case.
For those with short memories, the issue came about because as well as turning off "Location" on your device, you also had to turn off "Location & Web Activity" buried within the Google account settings to stop the tracking taking place.
Thing is, it's an old argument. You may recall the issue of Google collecting personal data about user location, even when the user turned the functionality off being debated in the EU and US. This is that, again.
A statement from ACCC Chair Rod Sims said: "We are taking court action against Google because we allege that as a result of these on-screen representations Google has collected, kept and used highly sensitive and valuable personal information about consumers' location without them making an informed choice".
In some cases, new ACCC penalties will apply that could see Google fined up to 10 per cent of its annual revenue. Older charges will be heard under previous regulations.
In both cases, regulators will argue that Google misled its users over the nature of their control (or lack thereof) over tracking, and didn't make clear what the difference between the two settings was.
"We consider that because of Google's failure to disclose this use of data, consumers were and still are deprived of the opportunity to make an informed choice about whether to share their personal location data with Google," said Mr Sims.
He also added that other devices and makers could make the naughty list in the future, but the nature of Google's offences meant it was best to start with a narrower focus.
Google retorted in a statement: "We continue to engage with the ACCC and intend to defend this matter," µ
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