AP: Google Tracks Your Location Even When You Tell It Not To
Google defies the wishes of mobile device users and tracks their whereabouts even after people turn location history off, reports the Associated Press. An investigation conducted by the Associated Press found that many Google apps and services on both Android and iOS devices continued to pinpoint users despite their wishes to the contrary. The AP says computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed its findings. Those who allow Google to track their location can see their daily movements plotted in a timeline that's visible on a map. Google allows people to pause location history so location data is not stored. While Google Maps may stop tracking users' locations, other apps including weather and search will still pinpoint users. The AP claims this issue impacts two billion people. "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," said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist. Google claims it is living up to its commitments. "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," said Google in a statement provided 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." Google explains that tuning off "Location History" prevents the device from adding location to users' timelines, but the phone still captures and stores location data from other apps. Users wishing to more fully disengage tracking need to deactivate location in the "Web and App Activity" setting. Critics of Google's policy suggest it continues to track location to better target advertising, which is Google's main source of revenue.
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