Google sued by Aussie govt ACCC for misleading consumers

Technology giant Google is being taken to court for allegedly misleading consumers to give away a lot more personal information than they had expected.

Key points:

  • Google says its notifications were “easy-to-understand” and optional
  • ACCC claims users were misled into letting the tech giant monitor their “non-Google” web browsing
  • The case will be argued before the Federal Court

Aside from tracking people’s online activity on its search engine and platforms, Google also monitors users’ internet activity on “non-Google” sites and apps to boost its targeted advertising.

However, the consumer watchdog will argue before the Federal Court that Google failed to “properly inform consumers” and did not gain their “explicit informed consent” when it changed a key privacy policy four years ago.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleges that Google users were prompted to click “I agree” to this notification, which led to it being sued:

“Some new features for your Google Account:

“We’ve introduced some optional features for your account, giving you more control over the data Google collects and how it’s used, while allowing Google to show you more relevant ads.

The notification also stated:

“More information will be available in your Google Account making it easier for you to review and control”; and “Google will use this information to make ads across the web more relevant for you.”

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