Google tracked users' geodata even when the feature was disabled

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Google tracked users' geodata even when the feature was disabled

The American company Google tracked geodata on Android smartphones of users, even if the location function was disabled. In addition, the IT giant deliberately complicated the settings related to the transfer of geolocation, and pressured device manufacturers to do the same. This was reported by Insider with reference to the published materials of the case against Google.

The lawsuit against Google was filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. It happened back in May 2020. He accused the corporation of illegally collecting user geodata. According to the attorney general, the IT giant tracked the location of Android smartphone users, even when they turned off this feature in the settings.

Insider reviewed some of the unedited case materials that the judge ordered to declassify at the request of Digital Content Next and the News Media Alliance. It turned out that Google deliberately used various methods to track geolocation when the function is disabled, including via Wi-Fi and third-party applications.

Google engineers and corporate executives were aware of this policy. Some employees of the American company did not like this approach. They were outraged that it was impossible to give their location to a third-party application and not open Google access to this data.

“Perhaps this is how Apple eats our bread,” said one Google employee.

He explained that the iPhone maker would be more likely to allow users to simultaneously run geolocation applications and not send geodata to Apple.

In addition, while testing one of the versions of Android, in which users got simplified access to privacy settings, Google realized that people are willing to use this opportunity. The company perceived this as a problem and decided to make it harder for users to access such settings by hiding them deeper in the menu.

The publication added that Google even put pressure on smartphone manufacturers to do the same in Android shells for their devices. It follows from the materials of the case that the South Korean company LG, in particular, was subjected to such pressure. Google and LG did not comment on the situation in any way.

During his testimony, former Google VP Jack Menzel, who oversaw the Google Maps service, admitted that there is only one way for the company to not locate users' homes or work. To do this, you need to add the corresponding locations to the list of “other random addresses”.

Photo: Pixabay, Pixabay License

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