ACCC’s tracking win over Google a small step in the right direction

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With phones, this typically means telling people the benefits of each function with a check box to turn it on and off, but no clear message about the privacy implications unless you read a separate document.

It’s not clear exactly how settings need to be laid out to satisfy Australian consumer law’s specifications, as the ACCC has only recently begun examining settings in that context. But Dr Kemp said that current cases against Facebook and Google may help by adding further judicial interpretation.

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“The decision’s highly relevant for Australian consumers, because of the potential impact not just on Google, but on companies all over Australia,” she said.

“They’ll now be taking another look at their privacy policies and privacy settings, to see whether they’re potentially misleading and could lead to a claim.”

Understanding Android and Google account location settings

You can find your Google account’s location data settings via the “Manage your Google Account” button in web browsers, Android device settings and Google’s iPhone apps. The relevant options are under the “data & personalization” heading.

“App and web activity” shows all the data Google’s collected from your use of its services, like web searches or Android apps you’ve used, and you’ll notice a lot of it includes location data. Turning it off will stop Google services from customising to your or making suggestions based on your data.

Meanwhile “Location history” lets Google keep track of where you go whenever you have a device signed in to your account. Again, turning it off may limit things like commute suggestions.

If you use and Android device there’s a second set of options to look at, in the location settings. “Location” is a big switch that lets you completely disable all location data, though that may make many apps not work properly. “Scanning” controls whether apps can activate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to geographically orient themselves.

Finally “Google location accuracy” lets your phone use Wi-Fi, mobile data and more to refine the location information it gets via GPS. Google says it may use this collected data “in anonymous ways”, for example sharing with other users to power Find My Device and Maps directions.

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