Australia probes claim Google harvests data as consumers pay

They made the disclosures to the ACCC as part of the digital platforms inquiry being conducted by the organisation.

Oracle has accused Google of spying on Android users in Australia, but that is not all - Oracle has claimed that Google is using 1 GB data of Android users themselves for this spying.

Oracle, according to The Australian newspaper, said Alphabet receives detailed information about people's internet searches and user locations if they have a phone that carries Android - the mobile operating system developed by Google.

"The ACCC met with Oracle and is considering information it has provided about Google services", said Geesche Jacobsen, a spokeswoman for the competition regulator. According to The Chronicle, these accusations were brought forward by Oracle, a computer technology corporation that has been involved in a long and bitter legal battle with Google over intellectual property that Oracle claimed Google stole.

The Oracle experts say phone owners' data ends up being consumed even if Google Maps is not in use or aeroplane mode is switched on. With more than ten million Australians using Android phones, they could be paying $580 million in unnecessary fees every year.

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Crucially, Oracle claimed all of these surreptitious data transfers add up to about a gigabyte per month, for which the user has to pay. "Users can see what data is collected and how it's used in one easy place, My Account, and control it all from there", Google said.

With the EU General Data Protection Regulation set to come into force in just 11 days' time Google could also face further privacy investigations in Europe.

It is also quite alarming that the Oracle researchers seem to believe that the tech giant Google has been also including barometric pressure readings in its log.

"My people are looking into it", the ACCC's Sims was quoted as having told News Corp Australia. He called the briefing "extremely interesting" and "valuable". "The more we get into this inquiry the more we realise there are lots of issues (around) competition and privacy", he said. "Like many of Oracle's corporate tactics, this presentation is sleight of hand, not facts, and given that Oracle markets itself as the world's biggest data broker, they know it".

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