Google has agreed to pay $60 million in fines to settle a protracted legal dispute with Australia’s competition authority over its misrepresentations about collecting users’ personal location data.
In April last year, the Federal Court of Australia ruled that Google breached consumer laws by misleading certain local customers that the company did not collect personal location information using mobile devices with Android operating systems.
The question was whether it was sufficiently clear that Google would continue to collect and access location data when a user’s location history was disabled, but their internet and app activity was enabled and one of Google’s apps was being used. The company was also found to have violated two other consumer laws, one involving conduct likely to mislead the public and the other involving misleading statements about the service’s performance capabilities.
The ruling, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, has sent a clear message to digital platforms that companies need to be open and honest with their users about how their data is used. The parties had agreed that a $60 million fine was “just and reasonable,” according to a brief Federal Court hearing on Friday, and a joint application was filed before Judge Thomas Thawley.
In January, France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) fined Google $170 million for violating internet users’ right to free consent by making it nearly impossible for website visitors to refuse tracking cookies by burying this option behind a certain number of clicks. .