Google is accused of manipulating you to track you

Attorneys general in Washington, Texas, Indiana and Washington state are suing Google for allegedly deceiving consumers to obtain their location data.

Credits: Unsplash

Just days after being taken to court for forcing DJs to lie about the Pixel 4 in fake ads, Google is back in court again. Indeed, the attorneys general of Washington DC, Texas, Indiana and Washington State have accused Google of repeatedly pressuring its users to give up their location data through “dark patterns” and other deceptive practices.

A dark pattern or dark UX is a tricked user interface that has been specially designed to trick or manipulate a user. The complaints allege that Google willfully “ tricked users of Android phones and tools like Google Maps and its search engine into continuing to track the location information of users who had changed privacy settings to prevent data collection “.

Also to be read : Google denies accusations of spying via Google Assistant, no data is kept

Google is ready to do anything to collect your location data

The US state lawsuit accuses Google of misleading consumers about storing location information, even after disabling the “Location History” setting. Indeed, according to their lawyers, Google would continue to track you even if you turn off location sharing.

Smartphone location
Credit: Unsplash

Google falsely misled consumers into believing that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company might have access to said DC Attorney General Karl Racine in a statement. ” The truth is that, contrary to Google’s representations, it continues to systematically monitor customers and profit from their data. “.

Google has been tracking you for years

The lawsuit cites 2014 as the start of Google’s lies, though it’s obviously careful to note that the practice could date back even further than that date. Lawyers reportedly chose 2014 because Google introduced new settings that year that ostensibly gave users more control over the data that Google kept on them.

Google also enables tracking of your internet activity by default on all Google accounts, but users were previously unaware of this practice. ” Although the Web & App Activity setting is enabled by default for all Google accounts, the information provided by the company when creating the ‘Google account’ did not mention this setting or draw consumers’ attention to the one. before 2018 “, can we read in the complaint. Indeed, it wasn’t until 2018 that an Associated Press report revealed the basis of the lawsuits’ allegations, including how Google continued to track location data regardless of user preference.

It’s not not the first time that Google has faced justice because of a complaint accusing it of collecting too much information about its users. The American giant does everything to encourage its users to share their location, since Google Maps limits its options, for example, if you do not agree to share your location data. Earlier last year, we even learned that Google was pushing smartphone makers to hide privacy settings so users wouldn’t turn them off.

Google was quick to react to the accusations of the four attorneys general. ” Attorneys General Filed Lawsuit Based on Misrepresentations and Outdated Claims About Our Parameters “said José Castañeda, spokesperson for Google, to several of our American colleagues. ” We’ve always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We will vigorously defend ourselves and set the record straight “.

According to him, Google has made many improvements to make it easier to manage location data. For example, the search giant introduced auto-delete controls by default in June 2019 to allow users to automatically delete their location data as they go.

Source: The New York Times

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