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Australia investigates Google data harvesting from Android phones

16 May 2018

Oracle warned users that Google could also be accessing their location data even when they are not using GPS-enabled apps and if their phone is in aeroplane mode.

"For example, any Android user is familiar with Google Maps" nag screen: "To continue, turn on device location, which uses Google's location services" - and rather than "yes/no" as the choice, that dialogue offers "Cancel" and "OK".

Australia has launched an investigation into the matter following a report by Oracle on the impact of Google and Facebook on the advertising market in the country. Despite this, users should still trust the Play Store but by following some basic safety tips, they can help reduce the chances of downloading a rogue app.

"Google claims Google Location History is opt-in, but both the device and application settings on Android phones frequently pushes users into providing 'consent, '" their letter reads.

A tech giant is being investigated for its data collection practices, but this time it isn't Facebook.

Google told the news outlet in November that the location information was never stored or used; it was rather used to "further improve the speed and performance of message delivery".

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Rod Sims, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, revealed some disturbing information after being briefed by USA experts.

Since Google has mapped the IP addresses, wifi connection points and mobile towers, it can get the information about where a device is connecting or is attempting to connect.

Australian watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the country's privacy commissioner said they were reviewing the report, specifically how much consumers really know about use of location data.

The Dashboard, which will be coming to a future version of Android P, shows how this will work: metrics to provide the basis for a more grounded knowledge base of how you use your phone on a day-to-day basis.

Google News relies heavily on the data it already has about you, paired with artificial intelligence.

Australian telecommunications companies said they were seeking confirmation from Google on the allegations. In the latest version, the company said it was re-designing the app. According to him, "The ACCC met with Oracle and is considering information it has provided about Google services".

Australia investigates Google data harvesting from Android phones