Google tracks user location data ‘without consent’

The Associated Press (AP) has accused Google of tracking users location via Android and iPhone smartphones even if ‘Location History’ is switched off.

Nevertheless, Google replied to the accusation saying its privacy tools are “robust” and “clear”.

“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” Google commented in a statement provided to the AP.
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“We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”

The investigation came to light after a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley noticed her Android mobile asked her to rate a department store even though her Location History was switched off.

Following this, AP found that Google’s weather and search updates track user location, as well as Google Maps once opened.

Tracking activities aren’t only controlled by Location History. It’s also stored by a setting named Web and App Activity.

AP believes this is misleading. On Google’s support page on the Location History setting it reads: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored”.

The search giant also offers additional location-based ad services including one that allows advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their ads by tracking data traffic.

Written by Leah Alger

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