Google tracks your location even when you ask it not to, says report

If, like us, you’ve ever suspected that Google is watching your every move even when you’ve explicitly told them not to, an investigation by Associated Press has proved has your suspicions are full justified.

The investigation has found that Google is in fact storing Android and iPhone users’ location data even when they have chosen privacy settings which tell them THE WORLD’S MOST EVIL CORPORATION is blocked from doing so.

Google claims that if the ‘Location History’ setting on your device is set to off, the company will not be able to store information about where you have been. The company states on its support page, that you can turn off Location History “at any time” and that, with the setting turned off, “the places you go are no longer stored.”

Anyone even slightly familiar with Google’s modus operandi and track record for total lack of ethics will know that’s bollocks. The AP report confirms some Google apps continue to store time-stamped location data even when the ‘Location History’ setting is switched off – without asking for permission.

Some of the examples given by 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.

AP looked into the issue after K. Shankari, a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley, blogged that her Android device had prompted her to rate a recent shopping trip to Kohl’s even though her location history had been turned off.

Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist, told the AP that Google’s privacy settings should be made clearer. “If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” he said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”

Google, however, says it has been clear. A spokesperson for the company said that it provides “clear descriptions” of all the Google tools that people use which may record users’ locations. If you believe that, I have a unicorn that you might like to buy.

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