The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced an investigation into Google’s collection of Android user’s data.
The ACCC’s move follows software company Oracle accusing Google of harvesting a gigabyte of data from Australian mobiles monthly, costing Australians roughly $580 million in data charges.
Google, which is currently being investigated as part of the ACCC’s inquiry into digital platforms, has been accused of paying telco providers to send the search giant users’ data.
Oracle claims Google is using location data from its Maps feature, even when the feature is not being used by the phone owner.
According to Oracle, the data from locations is then being fed to advertisers to help serve more targeted advertising.
However, as per a statement from Google, the practice of collecting data from Androids is not only common but easily able to be opted-out-of by mobile users.
The statement said: “Google is completely focused on protecting our users’ data while making the products they love work better for them.
“Users can see what data is collected and how it’s used in one easy place, My Account, and control it all from there. Users can choose to use Google’s Location Service on Android devices to provide a network-based location.
“They are free to disable Google’s Location Service at any time, and the data this service sends back to Google’s location servers is anonymized.
“With your permission, Google uses your Location History to deliver better results and recommendations on Google products.
“Data sent and received from Android devices may be transmitted over a Wi-Fi network or over the device’s cellular connection.
“In the case of mobile devices, any charges for transmission of data over a cellular connection — including any location-related data — 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, and, in some cases, a user’s settings.”
Meanwhile, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said, “The ACCC met with Oracle and is considering information it has provided about Google services.”
“We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the privacy commissioner.”