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Monday, June 21, 2021

Google made it “nearly impossible” for you to not share your smartphone’s location data: Report

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Google employees have reportedly admitted that Google made it “nearly impossible” for smartphone users to not share location data as per new documents presented in court over a lawsuit against Google that was filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in May 2020.
As per a report by Business Insider, Google employees knew that the company had made it hard for Android users to find privacy settings and in fact pressured brands like LG and others to hide privacy settings inside the Settings menu in phones so that users could not easily turn on location tracking.
The lawsuit claimed that Google continued to track user’s location even after “users turned off various location-sharing settings”
The report by Business Insider mentioned that Jack Menzel, a former vice president overseeing Google Maps, “admitted during a deposition that the only way Google wouldn’t be able to figure out a user’s home and work locations is if that person intentionally threw Google off the trail by setting their home and work addresses as some other random locations.”
Google responded with an official statement by spokesperson José Castañeda to The Verge: “…our competitors driving this lawsuit have gone out of their way to mischaracterize our services. We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight.”
At the recent Google I/O 2021 developers conference, Google stressed that it has taken significant steps to protect user’s privacy in its latest Android 12 operating system. In Android 12, there’s a new Privacy Dashboard that offers a single view into your permissions settings as well as what data is being accessed, how often and by which apps. It also lets you easily revoke app permissions right from the dashboard. This feature is primarily aimed to make it easier for users to get access to privacy settings.
There’s also an option with which will be able to provide approximate location to apps instead of accurate location.

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