Google reportedly tried to persuade Android OEMs to obscure location settings
New information coming out from an ongoing lawsuit against Google has revealed the Search giant willfully made it difficult for Android users to turn off location data collection.
As per the newly unredacted documents (via Business Insider) in the Arizona lawsuit against Google, the search giant went out of its way to collect location data from users. Google continued to collect location information even after the user disabled and opted out of all app-specific tracking settings. The documents reveal that Google even tried to persuade Android OEMs to obscure location settings “through active misrepresentations and/or concealment, suppression, or omission of facts” on Android phones.
Internal Google emails show, even Google’s own engineers and executives were puzzled about the company’s location data collection practices.
“So there is no way to give a third-party app your location and not Google?, a Google employee says in the newly unredacted documents. ”This doesn’t sound like something we would want on the front page of the NYT.”
“Real people just think in terms of ‘location is on,’ ‘location is off’ because that’s exactly what you have on the front screen of your phone.,” another employee is quoted as saying in one of the documents.
The Arizona lawsuit, filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in May 2020, alleges that Google engaged in shady practices to illegally track Android users’ location data and used those data to make more than $130 billion in ad revenue in 2019 through targeted ads.
In an interview with FOX Business last week, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said that the stuff we’ve uncovered so far is shocking, adding that “it just confirms that Google is doing everything it can to spy on everyone it can, without providing any sort of notice to anyone.”
In response to this new development, a Google spokesperson provided the following response to The Verge:
The Attorney General and 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.