Oracle is accusing Google of spying Australians by building profiles containing “intimate lifestyle details” such as home and work addresses — plus “secret interests”.
The company also alleged Google may have broken the Australian law by misleading consumers about how it uses users' data.
These clams were sent by Oracle to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, following an inquiry the regulator made public on Tuesday.
In a submitted attachment titled “Google’s Shadow Profile," Oracle descibes how Google is using massive amounts of consumer data, not all of which it discloses to consumers, to micro-target advertising.
“A consumer sees an ad that is unnervingly, pointedly accurate,” the attachment began. “It seems to target information — so personal, so specific — that only this consumer would know the information.
“Maybe the ad targets a secret interest or hobby, a special place, or intimate lifestyle details.
“Is the microphone on? Is the camera activated? No — but they might as well be.
“In fact, Google is using massive amounts of consumer data, not all of which it discloses to consumers, to micro-target advertising. All without the consumers knowledge or consent.”
Oracle claimed shadow profiles contain precise location information of Android users by capturing how close their phone is to Wi-Fi base stations and at what time.
“If a consumer connects to the same Wi-Fi access point at 9am Monday-Friday, the Wi-Fi base station likely represents the consumer’s place of work,” Oracle continued. “Similarly, if a consumer connects to the same base station every day at 7pm and stays connected through the evening, the station is likely in located in the consumer’s home.
“A consumer’s pattern of life — the daily rhythm of the people and places individuals spend time in the real world — combined with online web browsing, search history and a myriad of other data points creates an intimate dossier of a consumer’s lifestyle.”
Oracle is engaged in a long-running war with Google, having launched an $US8.8 billion ($12.4 billion) lawsuit in 2010 alleging Google’s Android smartphone operating system infringed copyrights related to Oracle’s Java platform.
“These purposes are not the primary purposes for which location information is collected,” Oracle said. “Location information — as well as other activity information that Google collects — is primarily collected to sell advertising.”
Oracle also said Google’s personal data download feature, called “Takeout” omitted “entire categories of other data collected by Google”.
That could also be misleading and deceptive, Oracle said.
Besides privacy issues, the ACCC digital platforms inquiry is also investigating concerns of anti-competitive conduct.