The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched court proceedings against Google claiming it misled the country’s consumers when obtaining their personal information.
The commission alleges the internet technology company failed to properly inform consumers, and did not gain their explicit informed consent, when it started in 2016 to combine personal information in customers’ Google accounts with information about their activities on non-Google sites employing Google technology, formerly DoubleClick technology, to display ads.
That meant data about users’ non-Google online activity became linked to their names and other identifying information held by the company.
“The use of this new combined information allowed Google to increase significantly the value of its advertising products, from which it generated much higher profits,” said commission chairman Rod Sims.
“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.”
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