Australia probes Google over user data


It is being speculated that Android users in Australia cough up about $445 million and $580 million for using Google.

The ACCC together with the Australian Privacy Commissioner are now reviewing the revealed information.

A Google spokesperson said the company had users' permission to collect data. According to the experts at Oracle cited by the ACCC, Google is draining around 1GB of mobile data monthly from Android phone users' accounts.

A fellow USA tech firm Oracle has reported that Google is prying on Australian mobile subscribers by not only tracking them but also collecting information related to a user's surfing patterns. Google services users should technically be able to delete or turn of their location history.

Two Democratic senators in a letter on Monday urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Google has deceptively collected location data on Android users, even when such services are disabled. "This set of options is inadequate and the confusing consent process is replicated throughout Android's various settings, where location privacy is often mischaracterized or subdivided so few users could effectuate their choice to opt-out of Google's location data gathering". "Most consumers do not understand the level, granularity, and reach of Google's data collection", Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, and Markey, a Democrat from MA, argue in their May 11 letter to FTC chairman Joseph Simons. "We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the privacy commissioner", said Geesche Jacobsen, a spokeswoman for the competition regulator.

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A gig of data now costs about $3.60-$4.50 a month.

The investigations into Google data harvesting come in the aftermath of the privacy scandal around social media giant Facebook, accused of collecting user data for marketing purposes.

At that time, the allegations also mentioned the possible sale of location data to advertisers by Google, who could then serve contextual and location-specific ads to the user. Oracle's accusations hint that Google may not be complying with their own policies.

Earlier this month Symantec discovered 38 malicious apps carrying the Android.Reputation.1 Trojan on the Play Store disguised as game and education apps - hiding their existence from users by removing their icons from the home screen.