Google may be harvesting user data from Android phones

"Most consumers do not understand the level, granularity, and reach of Google's data collection". A Google spokesperson had denied the alleged misuse of information, mentioning that the "location-data-harvesting system was separate from that one, being focused on messaging services", as reported by Fortune.

Just when the world was trying to get over Facebook's Cambridge Analytica controversy, there is another scandal waiting to blow up.

As per the allegations, location data along with other major data points of Android users are being sent to Google servers using Android users' own data, which is approximately 1 GB, per month. And that data needs to be transferred over the internet, which means users are paying for the traffic.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been approached by Oracle, and they have been informed that Google is unethically syphoning off data from Android users' phone, and spying on them.

Per The Australian (via The Guardian) it was Oracle - well, what a surprise here - that complained in the first place.

Location, location, location. Is Google tracking Android users' whereabouts without their permission?

A gig of data now costs about $3.60-$4.50 a month. The analysts commented that there are over 10 million Android users in Australia. At the time Google said the tracking was used to improve the performance of certain services such as push notifications but wasn't used for ad targeting purposes.

According to Oracle's presentation, Android devices send detailed info to Google including searches and what's viewed on the phone, as well as location data even if location services are turned off, or if phones do not have SIM cards or apps installed.

Responding to the latest privacy concerns surrounding Google, a spokesman for the USA based search engine operator said the company has users' permission to collect data. However, the company's privacy policy is pretty loose when it comes to the kind of data it collects. "We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the Privacy Commissioner", Geesche Jacobsen, a spokeswoman for the competition regulator said in a statement to Reuters. In its privacy policy, Google explicitly states that it collects information which includes the users' personal information, device information, log information and location information.

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