In news that should be taken with a grain of salt, computer technology company Oracle has made claims to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry that Google is tracking Android phones and then using customers own data allowances to report it back to their servers.
According to a report on News.com.au Oracle claims that ACCC chairman Rod Sims has been briefed by Oracle, who say that user location data is tracked by Google and then sent back to their servers using up to 1GB of data every month. The data is apparently used to help target users for advertising according to their location.
The sending of data can’t be stopped unless the phone is turned off, with News saying:
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. Nor will removing the SIM card stop it from happening. Only turning off a phone prevents monitoring.
Mr Sims has told News Corp Australia that the ACCC is looking into it, describing the presentation by Oracle as “extremely interesting” and “valuable input”
Oracle is of course in the middle of an ongoing lawsuit against Google in the US with regards to Google supposedly using protected Java APIs in Android. Google claims they developed ‘cleanroom’ versions, however the lawsuit has gone on for some time and after a trip on appeal by Oracle to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in March, Google was found to have infringed upon their copyright. The case is due to head back to a lower court to decide damages, however Google is expected to appeal.
Making claims against Google of this nature seems to be an unusual way of rattling sabers. The claims of Google tracking your location data is dragged out regularly, this is the first time that the link to using customer data allowances has been made. The ACCC is currently looking into the claims as part of the Digital Platforms Inquiry.
Google has never hidden the fact that they are tracking your location, you can see your location history in Maps by going to ‘My Timeline’. You can also choose to delete that data by going to ‘myactivity.google.com‘.