"This is an important victory for consumers, especially anyone concerned about their privacy online, as the Court's decision sends a strong message to Google and others that big businesses must not mislead their customers," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
"Today's decision is an important step to make sure digital platforms are upfront with consumers about what is happening with their data and what they can do to protect it," Sims said.
The ACCC claimed Google breached Australian consumer law from at least Jan. 2017 when it gave users the false impression of opting out of location data collection when the 'location history' setting was turned off.
Google, the court found, did not properly disclose to customers that both the 'location history' and 'web & app activity' settings had to be switched off if customers did not want their personal data collected, kept, and used by the tech giant.
Federal court judge Justice Thomas Thawley concluded that Google's conduct "would not have misled all reasonable users." But would have likely misled some reasonable users, he said.
"The number or proportion of reasonable users who were misled, or were likely to have been misled, does not matter for the purposes of establishing contraventions," Thawley said in the judgement.