Google is now facing an investigation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the grounds that the search giant is secretly following every single Android device owner, as alleged by Oracle, who Google has a long-running dispute with. Oracle prompted the agency into Google’s invasive tracking of Android users’ location despite switching the location services off, and even if no SIM card is inserted in the device.
The issue at hand, as Oracle claims, is that Google has been harvesting information about people’s searches, and internet use in general, through its Android platform, the largest mobile operating system, without the users knowing it. Quantifying the data, Oracle previously said that Android is giving Google approximately 1GB of data per user, for which is paid by consumers. It stressed that with the ten million Android users in Australia and 1GB of data can cost up to $4.5 in the country, hundreds of millions are spent by the consumers on a per annum basis just to send their data to Google. The ACCC said in a statement that it is currently looking at consumers’ knowledge in terms of the use of location data, adding that the Australian Information Commissioner is now “making inquiries with Google.” Responding to Oracle’s presentation, Google said this one’s “sleight of hand, not facts” just like many of its corporate tactics. Google emphasized that any location data that is forwarded to its servers “is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user.” It was in November 2017 when these allegations hurled against the Mountain View, California-based technology firm first surfaced, with news reports citing an anonymous source, and it was later revealed that Oracle had been orchestrating the allegations.
Presenting the similar allegations before the ACCC, which is also scrutinizing Google and Facebook’s effect on the advertising market, has proven Oracle’s resolute commitment to exposing Google’s cloak-and-dagger activities time and time again, even if Oracle had already won a legal battle against the company over Java copyright back in March. Google had removed Oracle’s Java code from Android 7.0 (Nougat) which was released in 2016, but until now, Oracle is still going after Google over what it claims are unsettled licensing fees.