Australian court orders Google to pay $43 mln for misleading users

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Aug 12 (Reuters) – Australia’s competition watchdog said on Friday that Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL.O Google unit was ordered by the country’s Federal Court to pay A$60 million ($42.7 million) in penalties for misleading users on collection of their personal location data.

The court found Google misled some customers about personal location data collected through their Android mobile devices between January 2017 and December 2018.

Google mislead users into believing “location history” setting on their android phones was the only way location data could be collected by it, when a feature to monitor web and applications activity also allowed local data collection and storage, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said.

The watchdog, which estimates that 1.3 million Google account users in Australia may have been affected, had started the proceedings against the company and its local unit in October 2019.

Google did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The search engine giant has been embroiled in legal action in Australia over the past year as the government mulled and passed a law to make Google and Meta Platforms’ META.O Facebook pay media companies for content on their platforms.

($1 = 1.4055 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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