The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) commenced legal proceedings against Google alleging that:
- Firstly, by the decision in 2016 to combine personal information in consumers’ Google accounts with information about their activities on 'non-Google sites', Google misled consumers by:
- failing properly to inform them; and
- not obtaining their explicit informed consent.
- These ‘non-Google’ sites displayed ads and used Google technology known as ‘DoubleClick’, resulting in identifying information and names of consumers' held by Google being linked to their 'non-Google' activity.
- The ACCC alleged this contributed to the performance of Google’s advertising business.
- inserted the words “[d]epending on your account settings, your activity on other sites and apps may be associated with your personal information in order to improve Google’s services and the ads delivered by Google.”
It is from this portion the ACCC alleged the misrepresentation derived.
The ACCC Chair, Mr Rod Sims was not complimentary in his statements:
“The use of this new combined information allowed Google to increase significantly the value of its advertising products, from which it generated much higher profits.”
.…“The ACCC considers that consumers effectively pay for Google’s services with their data, so this change introduced by Google increased the “price” of Google’s services, without consumers’ knowledge”.