Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Google under investigation in Australia for data collection via Android devices

Google under investigation in Australia for data collection via Android devices

The Oracle researchers said Google was using about 1GB of data from the accounts of Android phone users, snooping on users silently and collecting data for advertising purposes.

Transferring that information to Google means using up gigabytes of data that consumers have paid for under data packages purchased from telecoms, according to the Oracle report. A Google spokesperson had denied the alleged misuse of information, mentioning that the "location-data-harvesting system was separate from that one, being focused on messaging services", as reported by Fortune. The Australian Commission for the Protection of Competition and Consumers and the Privacy Commissioner say they are looking at the findings in the report. Responding to data protection concerns from Google, the spokesman for the US-based company said it required user approval to collect their data. We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the privacy commissioner, he further added.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the content of the Oracle report. "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.

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. "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".

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The protests also took place at the contact points in different cities, including the northern entrance of Bethlehem and Ramallah. Israeli soldiers, some crouching behind sand berms, fired live bullets and tear gas volleys from the other side of the fence.

Australian telecoms said they were seeking confirmation from Google on the allegations.

A tech giant is being investigated for its data collection practices, but this time it isn't Facebook.

U.S. software company Oracle has always been involved in a dispute with Google over the infringed use of Oracle's Java intellectual property. With more than ten million Australians using Android phones, they could be paying $580 million in unnecessary fees every year.

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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