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Google Sued In Australia For Allegedly Misleading Consumers About Personal Data Usage

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or ACCC filed a suit against Google LLC for allegedly misleading Australian consumers by collecting their personal data without proper consent mainly for targeted advertising. The conduct is alleged to have impacted millions of Australians with Google accounts.

In a statement, the Australian regulatory commission said it has launched Federal Court proceedings against Google.

The ACCC accuses the search engine that it failed to properly inform consumers, and did not gain their explicit informed consent, about its move in 2016 to start combining personal information in consumers' Google accounts. The company collected information about the consumers' activities on non-Google sites that used Google technology, formerly DoubleClick technology, to display ads.

Google allegedly used this potentially very sensitive and private information about their activities on third party websites to significantly enhance the commercial performance of its advertising businesses, from which it generated much higher profits.

This implies that data about users' non-Google online activity are linked to their names and other identifying information held by Google. Earlier, such data were not linked to an individual user as they were kept separately from users' Google accounts.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims 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."

The ACCC also alleges that Google misled consumers about a related change to its privacy policy.

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