Australia looking into claims that Google collects users' data

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Among the questions that remain: whether Google actually gives users the right to opt out of location tracking, as the company says it does, and whether Google is being transparent about how it's using location data.

Google and Oracle have always been engaged in a range of legal battles, and now, the latest iteration is playing out in Australia, where Oracle has successfully convinced competition and privacy regulators to look into how Google allegedly tracks its Android phone users. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating claims that Google harvests private data from Android users.

Responding to the latest privacy concerns surrounding Google, a spokesman for the US based search engine operator said the company has users' permission to collect data.

While Google's privacy consent says it only tracks your location when you actively use it - to "search for a restaurant on Google Maps or watch a video on YouTube", for example - Oracle says Google can access detailed information on users' location even when tracking services are turned off. Concerned about the impact that both Google and Facebook have had on the advertising market, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) launched an inquiry. "We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the privacy commissioner". Oracle added that the transfer of this information was eating into users' data allowance purchased from their telecoms providers-up to a gigabyte a month, which seems like quite a lot to go unnoticed.

Data privacy advocates said many consumers are unlikely to understand what they agreed to when signing up to use a smartphone.

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USA tech firm, Oracle claims that Google is snooping on Australian mobile subscribers.

At that time, the allegations also mentioned the possible sale of location data to advertisers by Google, who could then serve contextual and location-specific ads to the user.

A tech giant is being investigated for its data collection practices, but this time it isn't Facebook.

Oracle has its own long-running dispute with Google. Everyone who uses Google services must agree to these terms and conditions, but there is now a debate over whether this consent is valid.