Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Is Google tracking location without permission? FTC probe urged, Australia inquiry begins

Google using Australians' mobile data to spy on them: claim ACCC investigating claims by Oracle that Google is tracking your movements and using your data to report them
Edmund Robinson | 15 May, 2018, 22:34

Oracle claims Google is using location data from its Maps feature, even when the feature is not being used by the phone owner.

Oracle further claims that this data transfers to Google, which could be up to gigabytes per month, and is being paid by the users themselves.

Oracle is of course in the middle of an ongoing lawsuit against Google in the USA with regards to Google supposedly using protected Java APIs in Android. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the country's privacy commissioner said they were reviewing the findings of a report by Oracle Corp.

Fortune quoted Google's response: "Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user".

Oracle experts reportedly said that only on turning off an Android device prevents the tracking.

According to Australia's Daily Telegraph, ACCC chairman Rod Sims has been briefed by Oracle representatives, who made the claims.

While Google's initial response refuted numerous claims made by Quartz, and explained again and again how Google and Android handles sensitive location data, the letter to the FTC again uses the report as its main basis.




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".

Data privacy advocates said many consumers are unlikely to understand what they agreed to when signing up to use a smartphone.

In Australia, 1 GB of data costs roughly $3.60-$4.50 a month.

Australian telecoms companies say they are seeking Google's confirmation of the charges.

Meanwhile, a Google spokesperson has told The Queensland Times that Oracle's presentation was "sleight of hand" and that users can see and control what data the Google collects and how it is being used by visiting the My Account section. 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.

USA software company Oracle has always been involved in a dispute with Google over the infringed use of Oracle's Java intellectual property.

The report said the inability to turn off the location services in Android poses a risk for individuals who want to hide their location for security purposes, like law enforcement officials and victims of domestic abuse.

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