Google sued for unwanted tracking of phone locations

Doris Richards
August 21, 2018

Although pausing "Location History" tracking on your Google account may lead you to believe that you're stopping Google from collecting time-stamped location data for your devices, this is not actually the case.

Napoleon Patacsil has filed a complaint in federal court in San Francisco that seeks class action status on behalf of Android and iPhone users who turned off the "Location History" feature on their phones, which the complaint says Google ignored by then spying on their movements anyway.

The suit, which was filed on Friday by a California man, seeks unspecified damages along with class-action status to represent all U.S. iPhone or Android smartphone users who turned off location history in order not to have their movements logged by Google. The updated language also excludes this misleading line: "With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored". Attornies for the plaintiff are seeking class-action status since the policies in question affect not only their client but also millions of other users on both Android devices and iOS. It blasts Google's practices as being in violation of a 2011 settlement with the agency.

"Google expressly represented to users of its operating system and apps that the activation of certain settings will prevent the tracking of users' geolocations", the lawsuit read. "The Commission's inactions have made the Internet less safe and less secure for users and consumers".

Last Friday, Google quietly edited its description of the practice on its own website-while continuing said practice-to clarify that "some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps". As recently publicly revealed, turning off "Location History" only stopped Google from creating a location timeline that the user could view. The new description explains that, yes, Google continues to track users even after they have turned the setting off. The company hasn't, however, responded yet about the filing of the lawsuit.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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