The Federal Court has dismissed the ACCC’s case, finding that Google LLC (Google) did not mislead Australian consumers when it published an on-screen notification to Australian users, and changed its privacy policy to expand the scope of its use and collection of personal data.

The ACCC had alleged that the notification was misleading because it did not adequately inform consumers about these changes

In June 2016, Google introduced changes which, if a consumer clicked ‘I agree’ in response to the notification, allowed Google to combine personal information in consumers’ Google accounts with information about their activity on non-Google sites that used Google technology (formerly called DoubleClick technology) to display ads.

This meant that internet tracking data that had previously been kept separate from users’ Google accounts and was not linked to an individual user, was now linked to users’ names and other identifying information.

This newly combined information was used to improve Google’s advertising business.


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The ACCC also argued that changes to the privacy policy reduced the rights of account holders’ without obtaining their explicit consent.

The Court found that the notification and the changes to the privacy policy were not misleading because Google sought the consent of account holders to implement the changes and only implemented the steps with their informed consent. The Court also noted that Google did not reduce account holders’ rights under the privacy policy.

“Google’s conduct came to our attention as a result of our work on the Digital Platforms Inquiry. We took this case because we were concerned that Google was not adequately providing consumers with clear and transparent information about how it collects and uses consumer data,” ACCC Acting Chair Delia Rickard said.

“We will now carefully consider the judgment.”