Australia’s federal court has found Google guilty of misleading consumers on its location data collection policies.
The court found that the tech giant wrongfully claimed that it only collected information on its users’ location on their devices between January 2017 and December 2018. In fact, a default setting for controlling web and application activity enabled Google to collect and use the data.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the country’s regulator, is seeking declarations and undisclosed penalties from Google, Reuters reported.
“This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the Court’s decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement.
The court is yet to decide how many such violations occurred and what it defines as a breach, but it reportedly expects the fine to be in “many millions.”
“The court rejected many of the ACCC’s broad claims. We disagree with the remaining findings and are currently reviewing our options, including a possible appeal,” a Google spokesman said.
Google, along with Facebook, has been in a legal battle in Australia as the country’s government recently passed a law enforcing Google and Facebook to pay media companies for profiting from the distribution of content on their platforms.