deceptive location tracking

In the recent news, the attorneys general of three states and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, Google. The lawsuit alleges that Google was conducting deceptive location tracking of users by collecting their location data even when they considered that kind of tracking was disabled.


Google Performed Deceptive Location Tracking of its Users


“Google falsely led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access,” DC Attorney General Karl Racine said. “The truth is that contrary to Google’s representations it continues to systematically surveil customers and profit from customer data.”


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Moreover, Racine defined Google’s privacy practices as “bold misrepresentations” that undermine consumer privacy. His office began studying how Google handles user location data after reporting from the Associated Press in 2018 found that many Google apps across iOS and Android performed deceptive location tracking when users have selected privacy options that explicitly say they won’t. The AP coordinated with computer science researchers at Princeton to confirm its findings.


Google Apps Automatically Store Time-Stamped Location Data


“Google’s support page on the subject states: ‘You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored,’” the AP reported. “That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.”


The lawsuit over deceptive location tracking argues that Google developed a location tracking system that’s impossible for users to opt out of and that its deceived users about how privacy settings could protect their data within apps and at the device level on Android. It also accuses Google of depending on a deceitful dark pattern design to force users into making selections counter to their own interests.


Source: The Verge 


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