While using your Android or iOS device, if you choose the option to pause the location sharing, what are your expectations? While this option seems pretty straightforward and apparently tells you that your smartphone isn’t collecting your location history, the reality is much scarier.
A report from Associated Press tells that Google and its services continuously keep tracking you even if you tell them otherwise with the help of your smartphone settings. This desperate measure to collect the location data has sparked a new online privacy debate.
AP further confirmed its findings with the help of Jonathan Mayer (and his team), a former technologist at FTC and a Princeton computer scientist.
With your Location History paused, many Google apps collect (and store) time-stamped data without your explicit permission. Take up the case of Maps–even with location turned off, Maps collects the location data each time you just open the app.
Similarly, the Google search app keeps collecting location data, accurate up to 4 feet, even when you perform searches that seemingly don’t have to do anything with your location.
When it comes to Google, the company says that its policies are clear and there are multiple ways in which Google may use location to improve your “experience.”
“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,” according to Google.
The stored location data is also used to target ads, and buyers have the ability to narrow down the audience by targetting a specific location.
In case you wish to turn off the location markers, you need to find another setting called “Web and App Activity.” It’s turned on by default and it doesn’t reference location collection up front. You have the option to erase all your activity at once or choose to erase location data one by one.
It goes without saying that data, such as location history, is the most important asset of an advertisement-based company like Google. So, from the financial point of view, recording location non-stop even when you ask it not to, is golden for the company. In general, this practice is detestable.