Google Misled Users Over Data Privacy Matters Says Australian Regulator

Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCA) is accusing Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) search engine Google for misleading users with an aim of harvesting their personal data for targeted advertising.

In a court filing, the Australia’s competition regulator is accusing Google of not properly informing users of a 2016 move which saw the combination of personal information in Google accounts and with browsing activities on non-Google websites.

This change was worth a lot of money to Google. We allege they’ve achieved it through misleading behavior,” said ACCA’s chairman Rod Sims.

The said change enabled Google to link the browsing behavior of millions of users using their name and identities giving the search engine extreme market powers.

We consider Google misled Australian consumers about what it planned to do with large amounts of their personal information, including internet activity on websites not connected to Google,” added Sims.

According to the regulator, Google used the combined data to boost targeted ads without making the user changes clear on its privacy policy. This move would thereafter boosts Google ad revenue since its where it generates a majority of its total revenue from.

On the receiving end, Google says the change was optional and user permission was sought via prominent and easily understandable notifications.

If a user did not consent, their experience of our products and services remained unchanged,” said Google.

The regulator is seeking damages from Google, a clear figure was not quoted however the damages could run into millions.


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