Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Senators want FTC to investigate Google's location data collection

A pedestrian walks past signage at Google headquarters in Mountain View Calif A pedestrian walks past signage at Google headquarters in Mountain View Calif
Eleanor Moreno | 15 May, 2018, 22:37

The Alphabet-owned company is said to send back location info of Android users to its servers even if location services are turned off. Oracle added that the transfer of this information was eating into users' data allowance purchased from their telecoms providers-up to a gigabyte a month, which seems like quite a lot to go unnoticed. Australia's Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is reportedly reviewing Oracle's findings.

"Based on our investigation and public reports on Location History, we have significant reservations about Google's failure to clearly account for how that location data is collected and used by the company", the senators wrote.

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

The raging issue of user privacy has become a point of contention between two technology giants, Oracle Corp.

Data privacy advocates said many consumers are unlikely to understand what they agreed to when signing up to use a smartphone.

Google's privacy policy states that they save "When you search for a restaurant on Google Maps or watch a video on YouTube, for example, we process information about that activity - including information like the video you watched, device IDs, IP addresses, cookie data, and location".


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

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.

The report said a Google spokesman had refused to answer specific questions, without detailing what the queries were.

The apps also retain the ability to change the launcher icon and their "running apps" icon in the system settings once installed, again using well-known icons such as Google Play or Google Maps to avoid suspicion, as well as pushing content such as ads or scams to the device.

A tech giant is being investigated for its data collection practices, but this time it isn't Facebook. With more than ten million Australians using Android phones, they could be paying $580 million in unnecessary fees every year.

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.

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