Hillicon Valley — Google fined over location data claims

An Australian court fined Google $43 million for misleading users about how they collect and use their location data.

Meanwhile, a new report shows that online shopping prices have fallen for the first time in two years.

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Australian court hits Google with $43 million fine

An Australian court has ordered Google to pay roughly $43 million ($60 million AUD) for misleading users about the collection and use of their location data, an Australian competition watchdog said Friday.

The court found Google breached Australian Consumer Law between January 2017 and December 2018 by misrepresenting to some Android users what settings allowed Google to collect and use personal location data, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s announcement.

  • The court found that Google represented to some users that the “Location History” setting was the only one that affected whether Google collected, kept and used data about a user’s location, but another “Web & App Activity” setting also let it collect and use the data when turned on, the watchdog said.

  • “This significant penalty imposed by the Court today sends a strong message to digital platforms and other businesses, large and small, that they must not mislead consumers about how their data is being collected and used,” Australian Competition & Consumer Commission Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement.

What Google is saying: “We’ve invested heavily in making location information simple to manage and easy to understand with industry-first tools like auto-delete controls, while significantly minimizing the amount of data stored. As we’ve demonstrated, we’re committed to making ongoing updates that give users control and transparency, while providing the most helpful products possible,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Read more here.

Online shopping prices drop

Gas prices are easing and inflation shows signs of cooling – but wait, there’s more good news: online shopping prices fell for the first time in two years, according to new data from Adobe Analytics.

On Tuesday, Adobe released its latest Digital Price Index report, which showed that July’s prices fell 1 percent year-over-year and 2 percent on a monthly basis. It was the first recorded period of deflation after 25 months in a row of rising prices for goods, Adobe found.

So if you opted not to splurge on Prime Day and regret it, or simply have a little room in your summer budget, just remember that all categories of online prices didn’t behave equally.

The five biggest declines month-over-month were:

  • Apparel 

  • Computers  

  • Toys 

  • Jewelry 

  • Electronics 

Of the 18 categories Adobe tracks, the only ones that continue to see red-hot inflation numbers were Pet Products, Grocery, Nonprescription Drugs and Tools & Home Improvement. Pet Products led the pack month-over-month with a 1.72 percent jump.

Read more here.


For the first time ever, the United States Army is creating a tactical bra for female soldiers.

The bra, dubbed the Army Tactical Brassier, is in development at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Center in Natick, Mass., according to the Army Times, which was the first to report the bra’s development.

Four different prototypes of the bra are currently being developed. The Solider Center’s Design Pattern Prototype Team is expected to present the prototypes for an evaluation this fall to the Army Uniform Board, the outlet reported.

The bra is meant to add an extra layer of protection for female soldiers and work into their body armor.

Read more here.

Media outlets request info on FBI raid

A group of four major media companies filed a motion on Thursday to unseal all court documents related to the search warrant that the FBI executed at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property on Monday.

  • The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News and E.W. Scripps Company filed the motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to ask for documents pertaining to the search warrant.

  • The outlets want documents including the search warrants themselves, the warrant application, “all probable cause affidavits filed in support of the search warrant” and any motion to seal the “warrant-related records,” among others.

On Thursday, the Justice Department asked the district court to unseal a warrant authorizing the search warrant of Trump’s property in Palm Beach, Fla., that was executed on Monday.

In the court filing, the department cited “the public’s clear and powerful interest” in understanding the search. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland later stated that he personally approved the application and execution of the search warrant.

The media organizations argued that the public interest in having access to the records outweighs any interest in them remaining private.

Read more here.


An op-ed to chew on: When it comes to green energy, ‘friend-shoring’ shouldn’t cut out China

Notable links from around the web:

The Summer of NIMBY in Silicon Valley’s Poshest Town (The New York Times / Erin Griffith)

How Google found itself under pressure from all sides after Roe’s demise (CNN / Jennifer Korn)

Search warrants for abortion data leave tech companies few options (The Washington Post / Naomi Nix and Elizabeth Dwoskin)

🚲 Lighter click: Weekend here we come!

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday!


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