Google is being investigated in Australia for allegedly collecting customer data

Google is being investigated in Australia for allegedly collecting customer data

Much of the debate around user privacy lately has mainly been centered around Facebook. Everyone who uses Google services must agree to these terms and conditions, but there is now a debate over whether this consent is valid.

Like the US senators, Australian regulators question whether consumers have given valid consent for the extent of Google's information collection. The software company also claims that the search giant gets detailed information on people's searches and surfing from the Android devices.

According to reports: "Google has mapped IP addresses, Wi-Fi connection points, and mobile towers".

The senators say that Android users who enable the Location History feature "deepen the volume and invasiveness of collection across devices" by Google.

Also, Android phones include barometric technology, which uses air pressure to know a person's location in a high-rise building. Meaning, users are paying their service providers for transferring the data to the search giant.

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

While the allegations are not new and they first appeared in November of past year, the whistleblower remained unknown then. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the country's privacy commissioner said they were reviewing the findings of a report by Oracle Corp.

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The Australian investigation is linked to allegations made in an Oracle report about the impact of Google and Facebook on the advertising market.

Australian Privacy Foundation's head David Vaile noted that many mobile plans offer customers a few gigabytes of mobile data.

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.

While Google is open about the fact that it uses location information in apps like Maps, the company is not so forthcoming about monitoring location information when these services are not being used. Google contends that they do not give out information that would personally identify a user, but is otherwise rather vague about the exact information that it does provide to advertisers.

With the number of Android users in Australia around 10 million, if Google were to pay to collect their data, the price tag at current data costs would be somewhere between $432 and $540 million annually.

"Users can see what data is collected and how it's used in one easy place, My Account, and control it all from there".

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 tech company users' data.

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