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Google made location data settings difficult to find: Report

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San Francisco, May 30 (IANS) Google reportedly collected location data even after users had turned off location sharing, and made privacy settings difficult for users to find, the media reported.

According to a report in Insider, unredacted documents in a lawsuit against Google in Arizona state in the US revealed that the “company’s own executives and engineers knew just how difficult the company had made it for smartphone users to keep their location data private”.

The documents showed that Google “pressured smartphone manufacturers” into keeping privacy settings hidden, because the settings were popular with users.

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The lawsuit was filed against Google by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich last year, alleging that the tech giant tracked Android users’ location without their consent, even when they had disabled location tracking features.

A Google spokesperson told The Verge on Saturday that “our competitors driving this lawsuit have gone out of their way to mischaracterise 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,” the company spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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After the location data tracking controversy erupted last year, Google rolled out a feature that allowed people to automatically delete their Location History, Web and App Activity data.

“Choose a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved — three or 18 months — and any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis,” announced David Monsees, Product Manager, Google Search.

According to the tech giant, Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete or turn it off at any time.

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Meanwhile, after Apple gave users more control over their data sharing with app developers, Google has also pre-announced an upcoming safety section in Google Play that will help people understand the data an app collects or shares.

Starting Q2 2022, new app submissions and app updates will ask developers to include the information like what sort of data apps collect, how it’s stored and how it’s used.

Google will ask developers to share what type of data is collected and stored like users’ precise location, contacts, personal information (name, email address), photos and videos, audio files, and storage files.

–IANS

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