What Google is doing with your data

Google using Australians' mobile data to spy on them: claim

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said he was briefed recently by U.S. experts who had intercepted, copied and decrypted messages sent back to Google from mobiles running on the company's Android operating system.

"The Google Play app store has a reputation as the safest place online to get Android apps", wrote Symantec's Martin Zhang, principle software engineer, and Shaun Aimoto, technical product owner, in a blogpost, adding: "And Google does a good job of advising users to limit exposure to malware and other risks by configuring their phones to forbid side-loading and alternative app markets in the Android Settings".

AUSTRALIANS ARE reportedly "paying for the privilege" of having their data harvested by Google.

Australia's ACCC is using information from Oracle to investigate Google and Android's potential privacy issues and excess mobile data usage.

The claims were made by Oracle as part of evidence provided to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation into the internet giant, amid claims that Google is secretly tracking the movements of all Android users.

Right now, a gigabyte of data is approximately $3.60-$4.50 a month, with more than 10 million Aussies using an Android smartphone. Nor will removing the SIM card stop it from happening. The report from Symantec also revealed that once these apps are installed, they take various measures to stay on the device, disappear, and erase their tracks.

According to Oracle, Google is accessing information such as barometric pressure readings and coordinates, which could be used to work out whether someone is located outside or in a shopping centre.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Speaking to News Corp Australia, Sims said the watchdog is "looking into" the claims. The company has also claimed in the past that Google's Android data exfiltration activities go as far as recording the cell mast users' smartphones are connected to.

All location sharing on Android is opt-in by the user.

Meanwhile, a Google spokesperson has told The Queensland Times that Oracle's presentation was "sleight of hand" and that users can see and control what data the Google collects and how it is being used by visiting the My Account section.

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