Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Documents in Arizona Lawsuit Detail Efforts by Google to Collect User Location

Tyler Sonnemaker, Insider:

Google uses a variety of avenues to collect user location data, according to the documents, including WiFi and even third-party apps not affiliated with Google, forcing users to share their data in order to use those apps or, in some cases, even connect their phones to WiFi.

“So there is no way to give a third party app your location and not Google?” one employee said, according to the documents, adding: “This doesn’t sound like something we would want on the front page of the [New York Times].”

When Google tested versions of its Android operating system that made privacy settings easier to find, users took advantage of them, which Google viewed as a “problem,” according to the documents. To solve that problem, Google then sought to bury those settings deeper within the settings menu.

If you give users choices on privacy, they will respond in force. This is terrible news for companies that rely on users’ inability to make changes, or because they do not know they have options. If a company’s business model only exists because of deception, ignorance, and a lack of regulation, it is not legitimate. It is creepy.

I am reminded of Facebook’s funding of a recent paper in which a couple of researchers whined about App Tracking Transparency on that company’s behalf.

Every company should have to play by far stricter privacy standards. It is clearly what people want.