Oracle Accuses Google of Secretly Tracking Users

Google using Australians' mobile data to spy on them: claim

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (or ACCC) is Australia's equivalent of the FTC in the United States, regulating business practices to protect the consumer and promoting healthy competition among businesses.

Google says it is always focused on protecting user data and making its products better. An Australian regulator is looking into claims that Google collects data from millions of Android handset users, who are unknowingly paying their telecoms providers for the gigabytes consumed during this harvesting. The Daily Telegraph reports that the ACCC brought in experts from Oracle for information on an inquiry into "digital platforms including Google and Facebook", particularly in regards to consumer knowledge of location data usage.

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According to Oracle, the data from locations is then being fed to advertisers to help serve more targeted advertising.

Even though Google claims that customers have given their consent to hand over the data when they chose to use an Android smartphone, data privacy advocates say that customers are unaware about the real consequences of their decision. Fortune further reports that "Oracle also said Android devices sent Google detailed information on people's searches and surfing".

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The data collection also reportedly continues to take place even when the phone has been reset to its factory condition, its SIM card has been removed, or when no apps are running on the cellular device.

The voice-controlled Google Assistant, Google Play Store, Google Maps and other Google services will be added to Volvo's next-generation Sensus infotainment system which itself is based on Google's smartphone and tablet technology. "We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the privacy commissioner", said Geesche Jacobsen, a spokeswoman for the competition regulator. Presently, a gigabyte of data costs about $3.60-$4.50 a month.

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Meanwhile, a Google spokesperson has told The Queensland Times that Oracle's presentation was "sleight of hand" and that users can see and control what data the Google collects and how it is being used by visiting the My Account section. Now, Google is being investigated for allegedly tracking Android phone users. In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in Oracle's favour, ruling that Google did, in fact, steal intellectual property from Oracle "when it adopted Java naming protocols for Android app developers". Oracle's accusations hint that Google may not be complying with their own policies.

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