The competition commission Australia announced this Wednesday that it has sued the social platform Facebook and two subsidiaries for collect and use “misleading” personal data, five months after reporting Google for similar reasons.
In a statement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) indicated that it has filed the lawsuit with the Federal Court for the collection and commercial use of users’ personal information through the Onavo Protect mobile application between 2006 and 2017.
According to the commission, Onavo Protect was a Facebook-owned virtual private network (VPN) that allowed private and secure Internet browsing with the promise of protecting information.
“Keep it a secret. Keep it safe … Onavo Protect from Facebook“It was one of the slogans used by the VPN, which no longer exists.
However, the ACCC claims that the VPN collected data such as the time users spent using other applications, information that Facebook allegedly used for its marketing campaigns and possible acquisitions.
“Consumers often use VPN services because they are concerned about their privacy online, and that is what this Facebook product claimed to offer. In fact, Onavo Protect sent a significant volume of personal activity data directly to Facebook,” Rod said. Sims, president of the ACCC.
The commission specified that it will request a fine for the technology giant, although it did not specify the amount.
A Facebook spokesperson in a statement denied the allegations. and stated that the application was transparent about how they collected and used personal data, while specifying defend their position in court, as reported by the ABC portal.
Facebook, which in recent years has acquired numerous companies such as Youtube, Instragram and WhatsApp, bought in 2013 Onavo (USA) and Onavo Mobile (Israel), those responsible for the VPN.
Last July, the ACCC also sued Google for alleged fraudulent practices by combining the personal information of its users with their activities on other third-party portals without asking for explicit consent.
Google would have used this information for commercial and advertising purposes between 2016 and 2018.