Tuesday, 21 August 2018 08:52

San Diego man sues Google over Location History deception Featured

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San Diego man sues Google over Location History deception Pixabay

A resident of San Diego, California, has sued Google overs its deceptive practice of continuing to track users' locations even after the Location History option was turned off on its Android mobile operating system.

After the Associated Press exposed Google's practices last week, the search behemoth quietly changed the wording about the feature on its website, the website Ars Technica  reported.

When the AP report was filed, Google's policy read: "You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."

Now it has been expanded to add the following, "This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps. When you turn off Location History for your Google Account, it's off for all devices associated with that Google Account."

The suit, filed on Friday in San Francisco on behalf of Napoleon Patacsil, claims that Google violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act and also the state’s constitutional right to privacy.

The AP report said it had examined Google services on both Android devices and iPhones and found that turning off Location History had no impact at all.

The company's support page says: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

But the AP found that this was a lie and even with Location History turned off, some Google apps store time-stamped location data.

Patacsil's suit says from 2016 onwards he owned an iPhone that had various Google apps on it and he attempted to limit tracking of his location by managing his Location History setting.

Prior to that, he says he owned an Android phone on which he had carried out similar actions to limit the tracking of his location.

He has sought a jury trial and the extension of the suit to a class action, with separate iPhone and Android branches.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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