Google Gets Sued Over Location Tracking Fiasco…. And Others Pile On For Fun

Last week, The Associated Press found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve explicitly disabled the location sharing feature. Then they tried to clean up the mess that they created by putting some spin on it. Clearly that didn’t work because Google has now been sued by a man in San Diego, who argues that Google is violating the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the state’s constitutional right to privacy:

The lawsuit seeks class-action status, and it would include both an “Android Class” and “iPhone Class” for the potential millions of people in the United States with such phones who turned off their Location History and nonetheless had it recorded by Google. It will likely take months or longer for the judge to determine whether there is a sufficient class. 

Now Google has a problem because while I am not a lawyer, this lawsuit takes dead aim at their behavior which I suspect they might have a tough time explaining away.

But wait, there’s more:

Also on August 17, attorneys from the Electronic Privacy Information Center wrote in a sternly worded three-page letter to the FTC that Google’s practices are in clear violation of the 2011 settlement with the agency. In that settlement, Google agreed that it would not misrepresent anything related to “(1) the purposes for which it collects and uses covered information, and (2) the extent to which consumers may exercise control over the collection, use, or disclosure of covered information.” Until the Associated Press story on August 13, Google’s policy simply stated: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

This is a bit more interesting than the lawsuit because it forces Google into a position where it will be forced to argue that it hasn’t violated their 2011 agreement with the FTC which on the surface seems pretty clear to me.

This should be fun to watch.

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2 Responses to “Google Gets Sued Over Location Tracking Fiasco…. And Others Pile On For Fun”

  1. I tried to turn off the suggested setting to disable all tracking. Google maps would not work with it off. I could not navigate.

    • I’ve heard that from other people as well. Which is why I don’t have any Google apps on my phone. Call me paranoid. Or perhaps ahead of the curve.

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