Hackernoon logoWhat The Heck, Google? (Part 2) by@stewofkc

What The Heck, Google? (Part 2)

Christian Stewart Hacker Noon profile picture

Christian Stewart

Christian Stewart is a privacy researcher and reporter. Follow his latest coverage on YouTube.

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

So last week I was concerned about Google creating a censorship-friendly version of its search engine for the Chinese market.

Read Part 1 ⤵️

This week, I have another issue with Google. Google hasn’t been open about its collection of user-location data. Associated Press released that Google “records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.”

The issue involves Google apps for Android devices and iPhones. Even when users tell Google not to track their location with privacy settings, Google collects data about user locations.

Google Tracks Locations Without User Consent

I’ve had concerns about Google constantly collecting people’s locations for some time. However, that was with the understanding that I (and others) had given Google permission to do so. Even if I think people should keep their settings locked down to prevent unnecessary tracking, getting tracked was a choice. If people aren’t given the choice to opt-out…that’s an even bigger issue.

Transparency (with Data Use) is Essential

Google’s response to the latest issue was that users need to turn off an additional setting called “Web and App Activity”. While you may have location tracking turned off, Google still collects location data that falls under this “Web and App Activity”.

If you have disabled “Location History”, I think it’s fair to assume that Google then would not collect your location data. Unfortunately that just isn’t the case. If people go to the trouble of disabling location tracking, they have an expectation of privacy.

Google failing to deliver on this perceived privacy is a major issue.

“Critics say Google’s insistence on tracking its users’ locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue.”
Source: AP News

Google can collect as much information about me as it wants…as long as I have opted in and given consent. How can I trust a company that collects my information even though I have opted out?


Thanks for reading!

Christian Stewart Hacker Noon profile picture
by Christian Stewart @stewofkc. Christian Stewart is a privacy researcher and reporter. Follow his latest coverage on YouTube.Continue


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