A few days after an Associated Press investigation about Google’s privacy practices was reported, Google has revised its deceptive description on its website to ‘clarify’ it still tracks user location even after they turn off location history setting.
This affects Android powered devices and iPhones loaded with Google software such as Chrome, Google Maps, etc.
An Associated Press report has revealed that several Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even after users set a privacy setting that is meant to stop Google from doing so.
Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed AP’s findings.
Storing location data in violation of a user’s preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau. A researcher from Mayer’s lab confirmed the AP’s findings on multiple Android devices; the AP conducted its own tests on several iPhones that found the same behavior.
“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.”
When compared to the likes of Facebook, Google, and others, Apple are probably doing a better job. But they could be doing more.
Bloomberg Businessweek (paywall):
Bloomberg News recently reported that for years iPhone app developers have been allowed to store and sell data from users who allow access to their contact lists, which, in addition to phone numbers, may include other people’s photos and home addresses. According to some security experts, the Notes section—where people sometimes list Social Security numbers for their spouses or children or the entry codes for their apartment buildings—is particularly sensitive. In July, Apple added a rule to its contract with app makers banning the storage and sale of such data. It was done with little fanfare, probably because it won’t make much of a difference.
When developers get our information, and that of the acquaintances in our contacts list, it’s theirs to use and move around unseen by Apple. It can be sold to data brokers, shared with political campaigns, or posted on the internet. The new rule forbids that, but Apple does nothing to make it technically difficult for developers to harvest the information.
Gabriel Weinberg via Quora:
Alarmingly, Google now deploys hidden trackers on 76% of websites across the web to monitor your behavior and Facebook has hidden trackers on about 25% of websites, according to the Princeton Web Transparency & Accountability Project. It is likely that Google and/or Facebook are watching you on most sites you visit, in addition to tracking you when using their products.
As a result, these two companies have amassed huge data profiles on individuals, which can include interests, past purchases, search, browsing and location history, and much more. This personal data is stored indefinitely and used for invasive targeted advertising that can follow you around the Internet.
If nothing else, the current U.S. administration demonstrates that a change of government can change quickly change it’s trustworthiness.
Scott Shane and Daisuke Wakabayashi, The New York Times:
“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program, and announce a policy that it will not “ever build warfare technology.”
Read the rest of the letter.
Chaim Gartenberg, writing in The Verge:
Google is announcing new efforts today to support the media industry by fighting misinformation and bolstering journalism, which will live under a newly announced umbrella called the Google News Initiative. Google already offers something similar in Europe through the Digital News Initiative, but the Google News Initiative is intended to be a wider worldwide expansion of those kinds of efforts.
There are three specific goals of the Google News Initiative: highlight accurate journalism while fighting misinformation, particularly during breaking news events; help news sites continue to grow from a business perspective; and create new tools to help journalists do their jobs. Google is serious about supporting these goals, too, pledging to invest $300 million over the next three years.
In honor of the International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8th each year to celebrate women’s economic, political, and cultural achievements, Google takes a closer look at gender equality – which is being searched more than ever before. #IWD2018
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates twelve female artists from around the world – The Independent
On International Women’s Day 2018, Google Wants to Hear Your Story – Time