Google probed in Australia for allegedly tracking phone users at their expense


Google probed in Australia for allegedly tracking phone users at their expense

Google is under investigation in Australia following claims that it collects data from millions of Android smartphones users, who unwittingly pay their telecom service providers for gigabytes consumed during the harvesting, regulators said on Tuesday.

Google, which is now 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 and Google's fights have been legendary, nearly equalling the magnitude of the fight between Apple and Windows, once upon a time.

"We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the privacy commissioner", Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, told the Guardian. The Australian Commission for the Protection of Competition and Consumers and the Privacy Commissioner say they are looking at the findings in the report.

Responding to the claims, Google has said that it has required permission from the Android users about collecting their data. Oracle added that the transfer of this information was eating into users' data allowance purchased from their telecoms providers-up to a gigabyte a month, which seems like quite a lot to go unnoticed.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the content of the Oracle report.

Google's privacy policy states that they save "When you search for a restaurant on Google Maps or watch a video on YouTube, for example, we process information about that activity - including information like the video you watched, device IDs, IP addresses, cookie data, and location". So, Google's data collection is very costly to consumers.

Now, considering more than 10 million Australians use Android phones, 1 GB data cost of 10 million Aussies translates to $445 million to $580 million a year.

Google has not returned a request for comment about the Australian inquiry.

The investigations will raise more questions about the way big technology companies collect and use people's data online. Regulators found that telecom service customers are unknowingly paying for gigabytes of mobile data mined by the US tech giant. Oracle's accusations hint that Google may not be complying with their own policies. The U.S. 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.



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