Australian Competition and Consumer Commission sues Google for misleading consumers on expanded use of personal data for targeted advertising

In yet another development that marks a regulator launching proceedings against Alphabet’s Google Inc, Australia’s competition authority has begun court proceedings against the search engine giant alleging that it misleads consumers about the expanded use of personal data for targeted advertising purposes.

In a federal court, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said, Google did not explicitly get consent nor properly inform consumers about a move in 2016 to combine personal information in Google accounts with activities on non-Google websites that use its technology.

Because of this practice, Google was able to link the names and find other ways and means to identify the identity of consumers from their behavior on the internet.

Google did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

The development comes midst increasing concerns on the privacy of consumer data. U.S. and European lawmakers have recently stepped up their focus on how tech companies treat user data due to privacy concerns.

“We are taking this action because we consider Google misled Australian consumers about what it planned to do with large amounts of their personal information, including internet activity on websites not connected to Google,” said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims in a statement.

According to the ACCC, Google used the combined data to boost its revenues from targeted advertising, without making it clear to consumers on the changes to its privacy policy.

So far, the ACCC did not specify the court action that it is targeting. It said, it has filed the claim on a “confidential basis pending claims by Google.”

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