Google Is Tracking Your Location-Even Without Your Permission, Report Says
13 August, 2018, 23:25 | Author: Sammy Rose
An investigation done by the Associated Press (published by NBC News) in collaboration with researchers at Princeton University shows that the on/off switch for Google's Location History isn't the silver bullet for tracking disabling that its name suggests. Under Settings Safari Search Engine, you can find other options like Bing or DuckDuckGo.
In order to fully turn off location tracking, users must adjust settings in "web and app activity", not only "location services", and even then it is hard to prevent the phone from recording users' whereabouts, according to the report.
Google is watching where you are, even if you specifically instruct it not to record your location on iPhones and Android handsets.
Some of the examples given by the AP include the Google Maps app, which takes a snapshot of your location as soon as you open it and even completely unrelated searches like "chocolate chip cookies" which "pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude" and save it to your Google account. It also becomes onerous when Google uses the location history you don't want to share to identify your location and deliver better advertising opportunities for companies that want to target people around a particular area. While Google has become a bit more transparent about tracking in recent years, the AP's study discovered there's still a lot going on that users aren't aware of. Even the protection of location data has concerned Congress. That happened even though she had turned off Google's "location history" setting, which according to the company should prevent it from remembering where a user has been. You can wholesale delete all items in date ranges or by service, but will end up taking out more than just location markers. (You'll need to be logged into Google) On the upper left drop-down menu, go to "Activity Controls". But leaving "Web & App Activity" on and turning "Location History" off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the "timeline", its visualization of your daily travels.
We asked Google to explain why it seems to be using its words all wrong and it sent us a statement explaining why we are idiots.
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To illustrate how much of a peek into your daily life Google's tracking can provide, the AP created a visual map of the movements of Princeton researcher Gunes Acar.
See, there you go.
Google offers additional information in a popup that appears if you re-activate the "Web & App Activity" setting - an uncommon action for many users since this setting is on by default.
Google will warn you that some of its services won't work as well with these settings off. Tap "Location." You can toggle it off for the entire device. For instance, the iPhone notification "None of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History" that appears when Location History is turned off is technically correct. At a Google Marketing Live summit in July, Google executives unveiled a new tool called "local campaigns" that dynamically uses ads to boost in-person store visits.
While disabling "Web & App Activity" will stop Google from storing location markers, it also prevents Google from storing information generated by searches and other activity. "To me, it's something people should know", he said.
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