An Australian court slapped a AUD60 million ($42.4 million) penalty on Google for misleading customers about personal location data collected through its Android OS, maintaining pressure over the company’s privacy policies.

The case was prompted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and relates to Google’s data collection practices between January 2017 and December 2018.

Previously, the court ruled Google wrongly claimed it could only collect user information from the location history settings, when its web and app activity setting allowed the company to gather data even when the location history was turned off.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb stated the penalty “sends a strong message to digital platforms and other businesses…that they must not mislead consumers about how their data is being collected and used”.

The ACCC estimates users of 1.3 million Google accounts in Australia may have viewed a screen found by the court to have breached the law.

It stated Google took steps to remove the misleading screens by 20 December 2018.

Australia’s government passed a controversial law requiring Google and Facebook to negotiate licensing agreements with local media companies for their news content in February 2021.

In July 2020, the ACCC also filed a case against the search giant for misleading consumers about the expanded use of personal data for targeted advertising.