Google Allegedly Tracked User Location, Even When Blocked: Lawsuit Reveals

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Location tracking is one of the most widely used practices for targeted advertising. We often see apps and websites asking for permission to track your location, which you can either block or allow. Fresh, unedited court documents have revealed that Google allegedly continued to collect users' location data, even after they had turned it off on their devices.

 

Google Allegedly Tracked User Location, Even When Blocked

Google Tracks Your Location, Even When Blocked

Google has been involved in many lawsuits, several of them pertaining to the privacy and security of users' data. The unedited court documents of the lawsuit filed by the US state of Arizona against Google have revealed some startling information about the location data. Going into the details, Google allegedly knew that it was difficult for smartphone users to keep their location data private.

In other words, Google's top executives and engineers allegedly knew that it was a deliberate privacy breach. They allegedly knew that users couldn't block their smartphone location data completely. Simply put, Google has continued using and tracking location data, even after you've turned off location sharing on your smartphone.

Google Allegedly Tracked User Location, Even When Blocked

Wait, it gets even worse. The court documents further reveal that Google has allegedly made these privacy settings difficult to find and shut off completely. Google has even reportedly pressured phone manufacturers to hide these privacy settings as users were regularly, actively shutting it down.

Secrets Of Google Location Tracking

The lawsuit filed by the Arizona State Attorney General, Mark Brnovich in 2020 further accused Google of secretly breaching user privacy using illegal tracking methods. Google has allegedly continued to track Android users' location without their consent, the court documents reveal.

Google Allegedly Tracked User Location, Even When Blocked

Often, we see Android apps continuing to track data while running the background. In this particular case, the lawsuit further alleges Google of tracking the location of Android smartphones in the background for a few features. This is even after users have disabled location tracking on their devices, which completely violates user privacy.

 

Action Sought Against Google Location Tracking Violation

The State Attorney General, Mark Brnovich has sought several reliefs in the court. This includes forcing Google to back profits gained from monetizing the collected privacy data through ads that were served on the state residents. If Google is found guilty, it may even be subjected to the fraud laws of the state that stipulate up to USD 10,000 in fines for each violation.

Google Allegedly Tracked User Location, Even When Blocked

If the allegations are found to be true, Google could be in serious trouble. The new lawsuit is one of the latest legal battles that Google has been facing in recent years. Of course, Google has responded in the court saying that the Attorney General is trying to mischaracterize its services.

Google has indeed been trying to build up its privacy features for Android users. Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda insists that the company had always built privacy features into its products and provided accessible controls for location data. Google presently hopes the case will be resolved and the accusations would be levelled.

(via)

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