Landmark case against Google reveals that a privacy policy is no longer enough

Written by Jessie Jeffery, Business Development Guru, CyberGuru

A recent landmark ruling by the Federal court finding for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its case against Google means companies can no longer hide behind their privacy policies.

In summary, the court found Google had misled Google account users about the whether their location history was being saved. The case centred around whether some reasonable users could be misled into believing that turning off the “Location History” setting would be sufficient to stop Google from tracking their location, when there was a second setting which also need to be turned off (and was turned on by default) for this to occur. In its defence, Google argued that this information was included in its privacy policy.

A summary of the case by the ACCC is available on their website. This case is part of a campaign by the ACCC against misleading privacy policies.

One of the key messages from this case is the apparent recognition by the court that users are time poor and may not read privacy policies in depth, if at all. Therefore, the onus is being placed on businesses to provide user experiences which ensure all relevant information is both easily accessible and understood.

The Federal Government has already regulated that companies must take “reasonable steps” to ensure the security of their customers’ data through the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme. Perhaps this is another step towards the Government regulating a customer’s right to privacy.