Google has been sanctioned A$60 million (around $40M+) in Australia over Android settings it had applied, dating back around five years, which were found — in a 2021 court ruling — to have mislead consumers about its location data collection.
Australia’s Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) instigated proceedings against Google and its Australia subsidiary back in October 2019, going on to take the tech giant to court for making misleading representations to consumers about the collection and use of their personal location data on Android phones, between January 2017 and December 2018.
In April 2021 the court found Google had breached Australia’s Consumer Law when it represented to some Android users that the “Location History” setting was the only Google account setting affecting whether it collected, kept and used personally identifiable data about their location.
In actuality, another setting — called ‘Web & App Activity’ — also enabled Google to grab Android users’ location data and this was turned on by default, as the ACCC noted in a press release today. Aka, a classic dark pattern. (Actually Google deployed nested dark patterns, plural, as we detail below.)