Numerous customer advocates have often questioned if Google mislead customers about their location history device browser settings? A Federal Court found Google’s previous location history settings would have led various sensible customers to think they might avoid their location data being saved to their Google account. Selecting the Don’t save my Location History, alone might not accomplish this result.
Users needed to alter an additional, different setting to stop area data from being conserved to their Google account. They needed to navigate to “Web & App Activity” and choose the Don’t conserve my Web & App Activity in my Google Account, even if they had currently chosen the Don’t save alternative under the Location History.
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Consumer advocates responded to the Federal Court’s findings, stating that this is an essential victory for customers, particularly anybody concerned about their privacy online, as the Court’s decision sends out a strong message to Google and others that big businesses need to not mislead their consumers.
Google has since changed the method these settings are presented to customers, however is still responsible for the conduct the court found was most likely to deceive various affordable consumers for two years in 2017 and 2018.
This is the second current case in which the customer advocate has prospered in developing deceptive conduct in a business’s representations about its use of customer information. In 2020, the medical appointment booking app HealthEngine admitted it had disclosed more than 127,000 patients’ non-clinical individual details to insurance brokers without the informed consent of those clients. HealthEngine paid fines of millions, for this misleading conduct.
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The customer advocate has 2 comparable cases in the wings, including another case relating to Google’s privacy-related alerts and a case about Facebook’s representations about an apparently privacy-enhancing app called Onavo.
In bringing proceedings versus business for misleading conduct in their privacy policies, the consumer advocate is following the US Federal Trade Commission which has actually taken legal action against lots of US business for deceptive privacy policies. The customer advocate has more cases in the future about data privacy.
Can this solve the issue of unreasonable and complicated privacy policies? The ACCC’s success versus Google and HealthEngine in these cases sends an important message to business: they must not deceive consumers when they publish privacy policies and privacy settings. And they may receive significant fines if they do.
This will not be sufficient to stop companies from setting privacy-degrading terms for their users, if they spell such conditions out in the fine print. Such terms are currently prevalent, even though consumers are increasingly concerned about their privacy and want more privacy options.
Significant changes to American privacy laws will also be required prior to business will be prevented from pervasively tracking consumers who do not wish to be tracked. The present review of the federal Privacy Act could be the beginning of a procedure to get fairer privacy practices for customers, but any reforms from this evaluation will be a long time coming.