Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to: Maps, Search won't take no for an answer

McCarthy, Kieren

Publisher:  The Register
Date Written:  13/08/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22887

Google has admitted that its option to "pause" the gathering of your location data doesn't apply to its Maps and Search apps – which will continue to track you even when you specifically choose to halt such monitoring.



Researchers at Princeton University in the US this week confirmed on both Android handhelds and iPhones that even if you go into your smartphone's settings and turn off "location history", Google continues to snoop on your whereabouts and save it to your personal profile.

That may seem contradictory, however, Google assured the Associated Press that it is all fine and above-board because the small print says the search biz will keep tracking you regardless.

"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," the giant online ad company told AP, adding: "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 mistake people make is wrongly assuming that turning off an option called "location history" actually turns off the gathering of location data – which is obviously ridiculous because if people really wanted Google not to know where they are every second of every day, they would of course go to "Web and App Activity" and "pause" all activity there, even though it makes no mention of location data.

Besides, in the pop-up explanation that appears in order to make you confirm that you want your location data turned off, Google is entirely upfront when it says, in the second paragraph: "This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps."

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