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Google Employees Admit the Company Made it Near Impossible for Users to Keep Location Private

User Location isn’t private anymore, says Google employees...learn more...

Monday, 31st May 2021

A lawsuit slapped against tech giant Google and documents pertaining to that has revealed that executives and engineers working for them have known all along about how the company has made smartphone users keep their location data private, next to “impossible”.

As per the lawsuit, Google has been accused of illegally collecting location data from smartphone users even after they opted out.

As per these unredacted documents, Google had even gone to the lengths of pressurizing smartphone makers such as LG and others into keeping settings hidden. They continued to collect users’ location data even when they turned off various location-sharing settings and started abetting making popular privacy settings difficult to find.

Both Google and LG were not available for comment.

A former vice president overseeing Google Maps, Jack Menzel was present at a deposition where he admitted to the fact that there is only one way Google could be thrown off the trail and would not be able to find a user’s work and house locations. This can be done if the user deliberately sets their workplace and home addresses as some other arbitrary locations.

It has also come to light from the documents, part of the lawsuit that has been flung against Google by an Arizona attorney general's office last year, that a senior product manager in charge of location services at Google, Jen Chai has said he was not aware how the company's complex web of privacy settings interacted with each other.

Further, it has been revealed that Google resorts to multiple courses of action to procure user location data including WiFi and also other third-party apps that are not affiliated in any way with them. This way users wishing to access these apps are coerced into sharing their data. The techniques the company uses for data collection have been successfully kept abstruse by them leaving not only users but even their employees confounded.

An employee stated, “So there is no way to give a third-party app your location and not Google? This doesn't sound like something we would want on the front page.”

In their defense, Google said they had kept privacy setting easy to find when Google had tested versions of its Android operating system but had ended up with users taking advantage of them. This, they perceived as a “problem” and an answer to this was to hide those settings somewhere deep inside the settings menu.

The News Talkie Bureau


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