Associated Press reports Google tracks users even when they revoke permission

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Google tracks

The Associated Press’s story and the investigation have some lawmakers concerned.

It’s not really a huge news flash that Google tracks its users. We know Google employes tracking methods to get a better understanding of what users want. They do this to both serve more relevant advertising as well as provide better information but users have been led to believe that they could easily opt out of that tracking.

An exclusive report from the Associated Press says that Google tracks users even if they’ve revoked its permissions to do so.

An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.

Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. 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.”

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It’s possible, although laborious, to delete it .)

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like “chocolate chip cookies,” or “kids science kits,” pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude — accurate to the square foot — and save it to your Google account.

“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,” Mayer said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”

Google says it is being perfectly 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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. “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 Associated Press’s story and the investigation have some lawmakers concerned. While most everyone already knew that Google tracks its users, they didn’t know Google tracks those who don’t want to be tracked. It will be interesting to see what comes of this story and if lawmakers take any sort of action. It’s worth hitting the source link below to read the Associated Press’s full in-depth story on the matter.

To turn off web and app location tracking, follow the steps below on your Android device or disable it on your Google Activity Controls settings page in your web browser while signed in to your Google Account.

  1. Head to settings.
  2. Tap on Google then Google Account.
  3. Tap on the data & personalisation tab and then on web & app Activity.
  4. Toggle Web & App Activity off.

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  Source: The Associated Press
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