This data includes location information regardless of whether a user has turned off their location or does not have a SIM card.
Oracle further claims that this data transfers to Google, which could be up to gigabytes per month, and is being paid by the users themselves. Google services users should technically be able to delete or turn of their location history.
As per a report in The Queensland Times, the ACCC is investigating accusations that Google is using up to $580-million worth of Australians' data yearly to track their movement and give that data to advertisers.
The raging issue of user privacy has become a point of contention between two technology giants, Oracle Corp. "Most consumers do not understand the level, granularity, and reach of Google's data collection". "We are exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the Privacy Commissioner". The allegations of Google tracking Android users surfaced after Oracle claimed that the search giant might be harvesting gigabytes of data from the smartphones.
A gig of data now costs about $3.60-$4.50 a month.
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"Google has an intimate understanding of personal lives as they watch their users' seek the support of reproductive health services, engage in civic activities, or attend places of religious worship", the senators wrote. Overall, the surreptitious data usage of Google costs Australian Android users nearly $580 million a year.
"We are aware of the reports in the media and we have asked Google to advise whether they are accurate", a spokesman for Australia's biggest telecom company Telsta said.
For context, Oracle has actively been in court with Google for more than 5 years over whether Android's usage of Java was considered fair use, and is certainly not an unbiased party.
The apps also retain the ability to change the launcher icon and their "running apps" icon in the system settings once installed, again using well-known icons such as Google Play or Google Maps to avoid suspicion, as well as pushing content such as ads or scams to the device.
The report said the inability to turn off the location services in Android poses a risk for individuals who want to hide their location for security purposes, like law enforcement officials and victims of domestic abuse.