Google has been accused of tricking users into collecting data

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The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has accused Google of seeking to expand its advertising revenue by bypassing users to legitimize the use of personal data on its own.

According to ACCC, of the Australian Ministry of Finance, consumers have long been paying for Google “seemingly” free services with their data. And with the changes in the new privacy policy, Google has been silently “raising” the service without the user’s knowledge.

According to ZDNet, the agency has filed a lawsuit accusing the search giant of arbitrarily expanding the use of personal data and the privacy policy even without obtaining consent from consumers. Content that states that Google is being accused of using personal information in consumers’ Google account combined with information about their activities on non-Google websites to display ads. Although not explicitly agreed.

The ACCC said: “This means that even online activity data from non-Google user addresses is associated with their names and other identifying information, which is entirely thanks to Google. In the past, this information was initially separated from Google Account users, which means that usage data not linked to personal data. “”

From June 28, 2016, to at least December 2018, Google account holders were prompted to click “I agree” with a pop-up notice from Google that aims to explain how they plan to expand the use of fish data. To obtain consent from users.

“We have introduced some optional features for your account that give you more control over the data that Google collects and how it is used and allows for Google shows you more relevant ads. ” The notice also comes with two statements: “There will be more information in your Google Account to make it easier for you to review and control” and “Google will use this information to make advertising on the web. more suitable for you ”.

According to the consumer watchdog, the “I Agree” message is misleading because consumers cannot properly understand the changes that Google is making and how their data is used. Rod Sims, president of ACCC, said: “We believe that many consumers if given a wise choice, may have refused to allow Google to combine and use a range of their personal information. for the financial benefit of Google “. The consumer watchdog also accused Google of misleading consumers about an update related to its privacy policy. The update has changed the privacy policy to: “Depending on your account settings, your activity on other websites and applications may be linked to your personal information so that improve Google services and the ads provided by Google “.

Google’s updated privacy policy also states: “We will not reduce your rights under this Privacy Policy without your explicit consent.” At this point, the ACCC alleges that although Google says it will not reduce consumers’ rights without explicit consent, Google is inherently unclear about changes in the privacy policy for people. consumption.

“We are taking this action because we believe that Google has deceived Australian consumers about what they intend to do with a large amount of their personal information, including activities on websites. which is not connected to Google. Using this information in this way allows Google to significantly increase the value of its advertising products, thereby generating a large amount of profits, “Sims added.

In another development, Google is also facing another lawsuit from ACCC accusing Google of deceiving users about how to collect location data on Android devices. For this lawsuit, ACCC alleged that in 2017 and 2018, Google did not notify users to disable location history settings in Android, as well as app and web activity settings to prevent Google from saving. location data storage.

In August last year, ACCC said it had up to five investigations, reviewing the behavior of Google and Facebook. In an October statement, the ACCC President said: “We accuse Google of deceiving consumers by being silent about having these settings turned off.” The ACCC does not reflect the way Android devices process location data.

The ACCC has also raised preliminary competition concerns about Google proposing the acquisition of Fitbit. The agency said it is working privately with a set of mandatory codes of conduct to address the power imbalance between digital platforms, including Google and media companies.

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