Statement in response to Federal Court finding Google ‘partially’ misled consumers over collecting location data

The Federal Court has found that Google 'partially' misled consumers about collecting their location data, in a world-first action brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“The reality is most people have little to no idea on how much of their data is being used by Google and online platforms,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.

“Australia Institute research shows that you need a university education and that it takes an average of 74 minutes to read most terms and conditions.

“It is hardly surprising that people end up in this strange world between accepting terms and not understanding them.

“One would think selecting ‘no’ or ‘do not collect’ in a phone’s location history would stop the collection of data. But it just highlights the complexity of Big Tech terms & conditions, where in this case, data was still being collected due to a setting being switched on in another part of the phone’s settings.

“What we would hope from this decision is that all online platforms need to develop consent that requires more than just a tick box but should explain it properly to consumers.

“It also highlights that more comprehensive consumer data protection is needed which in Australia is currently sadly lacking.”