AP Report: Google Knows Where You Are, Even If You Disable Tracking
Don't be evil or whatevs.
In an exclusive report this morning, the AP says, "Google tracks your movements, like it or not." Their investigation found that "many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used privacy settings that say they will prevent it from doing so," and their findings were confirmed by computer-science researchers at Princeton.
According to the story, Google claims smartphone users can "pause" location tracking, or even "turn off Location History at any time," which promises that "the places you go are no longer stored."
AP says quite boldly "that isn't true," because even with Location History paused, "some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking." And of course all that data goes back to the Mothership in Menlo Park, CA. From there, your data goes... well, I suppose to goes to wherever Google chooses to send it -- your metadata is their data, bub.
None of which should surprise you in the least.
Google and Apple got into a tiff a while back, when Apple allowed iPhone and iPad owners to disable web tracking, but then Google started inserting browser code to do so anyway without the user's permission -- or knowledge.
Privacy should matter to you, even if you aren't planning on murdering anyone in Raleigh.
Let me explain, as briefly as I can.
Remember when we still went to the mall to shop? Picture yourself on a Saturday trip to the local mall -- one of the half-day trips where you start at the big anchor store on one end of the mall and slowly work your way down to the other anchor store on the other end.
While you're there you run into a helpful fellow named Java Script. It's a weird name and he's a weird guy. And when I say he's helpful, I don't mean he's helpful to you -- he's there at the behest of every store in the mall.
And what Java does is follow you around, and loudly announce to every employee what you look at, what you put in your shopping bag, what you put back, what you buy, how much you spent, and how long you spent on each activity. Sometimes he gets in your way to bother you with information about other stores at the mall, and what they're selling, and for how much. And you can't get rid of the guy. He shouts out everything you do, and stays so on top of you that a two-hour trip takes closer to three.
Maybe he waits outside the bathroom when you stop to pee -- maybe. If Mr. Script is working for Google, he probably follows you in there, too. Taking notes.