Google Location Tracking Approach May Draw Regulatory Look

Doris Richards
August 19, 2018

Google tracks the location of your Android phone even when you tell it not to, the AP reported.

During the investigation, Princeton researcher's home address and daily route were able to be tracked by the AP.

Advertising. The more Google knows about you, the more advertising it can sell.

So if users don't check the My Activity page on their account, they may never know that Google is tracking them, the news site says. "With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored", it is just an eye wash.

"If you're going to allow users to turn off something called 'Location History, ' then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off", Princeton computer scientist Jonathan Mayer told AP. Also, the automatic time update on Android shows precisely where the user is, and some searches, that are in no way location-related, show the user's location, down to a single square metre.

In an email to the AP, Google said it provides "clear descriptions" and "robust controls" for people to navigate and delete their location history. And it applies to a wide variety of Google apps, including the basic one primarily used for search features.

Another major tech company, another privacy scandal.

The issue roots from Google's "Location History" setting, which can be turned on and off depending on the user's preference.

This isn't a barefaced lie; your location data isn't stored in Location History.

Like many of these features, it's easy enough to turn off - once you know about it. However, when it comes to protecting their location data, it appears that users will need to go through a rather complicated process. They were still collecting data from Android and IOS users unless you turn off another, well-hidden setting.

While the collection of data for use in its own services, such as dictating what advertisements a user sees, critics often warn of the privacy implications of this kind of data being provided to tech companies, especially due to the way it could be misused.

All true, but the paucity of information regarding your control over whether an accurate picture or timeline of your movements is still being recorded in Web & App Activity could be a concern.

"Google is saying, with a straight face, that it's perfectly clear that disabling the feature named "Location History" does not prevent Google from tracking your location history", John Gruber commented the news.

This will stop Google tracking your location when you open Google Maps on your iPhone, or tracking your location when you search for things through Chrome. However, the report found that even when users pause Location History on mobile devices, Google continued to store minute-by-minute location data. Although turning location tracking off stops Google from adding location data to your accounts timeline, leaving "Web & App Activity" on allows Google to collect other location markers. "More data for them presumably means more profit".

Google a year ago spent more than any other company to lobby on issues such as immigration, tax reform and antitrust regulation, per the Washington Post.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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