The ACCC is particularly concerned that digital platforms like Google and Facebook have tremendous influence on the advertising market. Oracle Australia, a branch of Oracle Corporation, recently met with members of the ACCC and claimed that Google harvests an average of a gigabyte of data a month from individual Android users. This data includes location information regardless of whether a user has turned off their location or does not have a SIM card. Google services users should technically be able to delete or turn of their location history. Google notes, “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.” Oracle’s accusations hint that Google may not be complying with their own policies.
Google says users are also able to control what ads they receive. This process can unfortunately, however, be overwhelming and time-consuming. Google partners with over 2 million websites and apps and offers nearly 100 user “topics”. Google contends that they do not give out information that would personally identify a user, but is otherwise rather vague about the exact information that it does provide to advertisers.
This is not Oracle’s first entanglement with Google. In 2010, Oracle sued Google for purportedly injecting portions of Oracle’s Java platform into Android without a licensing agreement; Oracle lost the case. More recently, Oracle funded various non-profit groups to smear Google’s name. Google and the ACCC have battled each other in the past as well. In October 2011, the ACCC complained that Google spread misinformation when they used a competitor’s name in an advertising campaign. The Federal Court of Australia upheld the ACCC appeal in 2012.