What Google is doing with your data

Pat Wise
May 15, 2018

Furthermore, the software company has revealed that Android devices include a barometer which allow Google to use air pressure to determine a person's exact location inside a multistory building.

The Oracle researchers said Google was using about 1GB of data from the accounts of Android phone users, snooping on users silently and collecting data for advertising purposes.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims was quoted in the report as saying his people were looking into the Oracle claims. "Most consumers do not understand the level, granularity, and reach of Google's data collection", Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, and Markey, a Democrat from MA, argue in their May 11 letter to FTC chairman Joseph Simons. It is being speculated that Android users in Australia cough up about $445 million and $580 million for using Google.

According to the Daily Telegraph, one gigabyte of data costs users as much as $4.50 per month.

News Limited organs in Australia on Monday reported that Oracle staffers travelled to Australia to present at the Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC's) Digital platforms inquiry.

Oracle claims Google is using location data from its Maps feature, even when the feature is not being used by the phone owner.

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"They are free to disable Google's Location Service at any time, and the data this service sends back to Google's location servers is anonymized". Only turning off a phone prevents monitoring, it says. Nor will removing the SIM card stop it from happening.

At a time of increased scrutiny of companies that collect masses of user data, two USA senators are calling on federal regulators to investigate a Google product called Location History.

"The more we get into this inquiry the more we realise there are lots of issues (around) competition and privacy". These apps also push ads to the users' phones via Google Mobile Services, and URLs are launched in web views that redirect to the kinds of "you won" scam pages.

Meanwhile, ACCC and company's Privacy Commissioner said that they are reviewing the claims made by Oracle in its presentation.

It said the Oracle experts had claimed that the snooping went on even if the mobile had no SIM or if aeroplane mode was on. He said location sharing was opt in.

Blumenthal and Markey said they asked Google CEO Sundar Pichai for answers, but received a response that raised further questions about their "characterization of basic consumer protection terms".

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