In May 2020, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit had suggested the Internet giant’s dark strategy to collect the location of Android phones, even when users had disabled it. Furthermore, it revealed that the company deliberately hid some privacy settings to make it harder to find and even pressured manufacturers like LG to do the same in their operating system layers.
The documents indicate that Google uses various sources to detect the user’s location, such as Wi-Fi and GPS. In addition, it ensures that there is no way to share the location with a third-party application without first doing it with Google. As if this weren’t enough, the company continued to collect location data even when users disabled an app’s location.
According to Insider, Google tried to facilitate access to privacy settings on Android. However, when they detected that users were taking advantage of it not to be tracked, they decided to hide them. After the modification, you had to navigate through various submenus to make some adjustments that were previously within reach. The company even pressured LG and other mobile phone manufacturers to hide the settings mentioned above.
Don’t let Google know much about you
Google’s privacy movements were also viewed negatively by some employees, comparing iOS and criticizing that users cannot get their location without providing this information to Google. The employee said this could be how Apple overtakes Android and any iPhone offers many more possibilities to users on how apps and services access their location. Employees admitted that iOS devices are much more likely to use third-party location-dependent apps without sharing data with Apple. On Android, any third-party app that needs location ends up being shared with Google.
Even after deactivating the history, Google continues to find out the location of the home and workplace of Android users.
Former Google Maps executive Jack Menzel advises all users to prevent the firm from knowing too much about you: Set our home and work address as other random locations than the actual ones.
As stated in the documentation, even Google executives like Senior Product Manager Jen Chai expressed confusion about the various possible location data collection configurations.
Android offers five privacy settings for user location data. Chai himself has acknowledged that they can be too complicated for users to understand, partly because a user cannot disable location services from Google Play.