The ACCC has announced it will take Google to court for allegedly lying and misleading consumers about how it used personal data collected for the company’s targeted ads platform.
The ACCC has initiated legal action against the U.S. company in the Federal Court, stating that Google failed to inform customers of how it collected personal information, and how it would be used for the purpose of targeted advertising.
From 2016 onward, the ACCC says Google failed to gather explicit consent from its customers around new information sharing policies with third-parties not related to Google.
Before 2016, Google handed information to third-parties that had been “de-identified,” with the ACCC stating that “the conduct is alleged to have impacted millions of Australians with Google accounts.”
Chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims has said that “we are taking this action because we consider Google misled Australian consumers about what is planned to do with large amounts of their personal information, including internet activity on websites not connected to Google.”
Sims added that “Google significantly increased the scope of information it collected about consumers on a personally identifiable basis. This included potentially very sensitive and private information about their activities on third party websites. It then used this information to serve up highly targeted advertisements without consumers’ express informed consent.”
“We allege that Google did not obtain explicit consent from consumers to take this step,” he said.
“The ACCC considers that consumers effectively pay for Google’s services with their data, so this change introduced by Google increased the ‘price’ of Google’s services, without consumers’ knowledge.”
Sims said that “Google made a clear representation about how it would protect users’ privacy. The ACCC alleges that Google made changes without obtaining the explicit consent it had promised consumers it would obtain before altering how it protected their private information,” he said.