The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission initiated court action over the issue in October 2019. The court found that Google LLC and Google Australia Pty Ltd, which together make up Google, had breached Australian consumer law.
The company was found to have misrepresented the fact that the only setting in an Android system that could affect data collection was "location history".
However, another setting, "web and app activity" could also enabled data slurping by the system.
“This significant penalty imposed by the court... sends a strong message to digital platforms and other businesses, large and small, that they must not mislead consumers about how their data is being collected and used,” ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement.
“Google, one of the world’s largest companies, was able to keep the location data collected through the 'Web & App Activity' setting and that retained data could be used by Google to target ads to some consumers, even if those consumers had the 'Location History' setting turned off.
“Personal location data is sensitive and important to some consumers, and some of the users who saw the representations may have made different choices about the collection, storage and use of their location data if the misleading representations had not been made by Google.”