Google Tracking Customers Regardless Of Privacy Settings

Donna Miller
August 18, 2018

The Electronic Privacy Information Center says in the letter to the FTC that Google's recording of time-stamped location data - even after users have turned off a setting called Location History - "clearly violates" the 2011 settlement.

Though Google originally said its help page was clear and correct, the updated page now clarifies that turning off the setting can still allow location data to be stored in apps like Search and Maps.

Location History already stored inside your phone can be deleted by removing each individual entry found on the "My Activity" page.

The findings suggest that some Google apps, namely Google Maps, automatically store time-stamped location data from users.

Worldwide, this privacy breach affects over 2 billion Android and iPhone devices that run Google services such as the Google search-engine, Google Maps or Android's Google operating system.

The change appeared to have been made to Google's website midday Thursday.

These changes to language are irrelevant to the main argument. Because it is worth a lot of money to Google. Tracking location provides valuable data to sell to advertisers who can specify that they want ads to be targeted to people who live in or have visited highly specific locations.

While your location history is paused, some services still store your location data.

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That option is included - for now at least - in the "Web and App Activity" option.

The search giant revised a help page that erroneously described how its "Location History" setting works.

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.

A year later, Google was fined $22.5 million for breaking the agreement after it served some users of Apple's Safari browser so-called tracking cookies in violation of settings that were meant to prevent that.

Google has not changed its location-tracking practices since the investigation was published.

Earlier this week, a report from Associated Press highlighted how Google continues to track the location of iOS users despite them turning off location history.

As to why it made those changes at all, it has nothing to do with user frustration and everything to do with an inevitable investigation by the United States government's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and possibly huge fines under European data protection legislation.

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