It seems like every few weeks we hear news about giant tech companies and their inappropriate means of tracking and collecting user data. This week, 7 European consumer organizations filed complaints against Google for its lack of transparency when it comes to location tracking. Read on for the full story.
Legally Challenging Google’s Location Tracking – Full Story
A coalition of European organizations is filing complaints about Google’s location tracking with the GDPR’s local data protection authorities. According to the complaints, which all use research done by Norway’s Forbrukerradet, Google uses different technologies to force people to use its location tracking systems.
Recently, more people are aware of the fact that Google uses both the “Location History” feature and the “Web & App Activity feature to collected location-based data. However, the research states that Google uses a variety of deceptive techniques to trick the consumer into leaving the location tracking features on. These include:
- Hidden default settings.
- Deceptive click-flow.
- App permissions.
- Always-on settings.
Google, in turn, has publically replied to these complaints, saying that tracking is off by default on their systems and that any activated Tracking method can be paused at any time.
How to Protect Your Location Data
If you’re anything like me, then you take your privacy very seriously. Having a multi-billion dollar conglomerate track your every move isn’t what anyone concerned with privacy would agree to. Don’t worry, though, there are things you can do to turn off Google’s location tracking. If this is a concern of yours then make sure you:
- Turn Off all of your Activity Controls of your Google Account.
- Delete your Location History and turn it off.
- Disable Voice and Audio Activity.
- Delete Voice and Audio data.
- Use a VPN to mask your real geographic location.
For the best privacy centered VPN, I suggest you take the advice of our VPN expert Charles and sign up with ExpressVPN. You can read his article on the best VPN for hiding your IP address in 2018 for an in-depth explanation.
The Legality of Google’s Location Tracking – Final Thoughts
Under the GDPR, Google may face a hefty fine if these complaints prove true. All in all, it hasn’t been a very good year for Google, or big tech companies in general, as more and more coverage is being given to the topic of privacy than before. However, we still have a long way to go before we perfect the regulations surrounding data retention and collection. Until we get there, though, what do you think about the complaints filed against Google? Do you think the GDPR will respond favorably to the 7 organizations? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.