Google to pay $392m penalty for harvesting location tracking details of users

Google has been assigned paying a $392m penalty as it harvested location tracking details of its users without their consent, respectively. The landmark legal pronouncement came at the end of last week when a team of US attorneys confirmed that the tech giant was keeping a track of moments of its users through ‘ Location History’ even after they explicitly said NO to such practices.

Going deep into the details, the Alphabet Inc subsidiary was slapped with a lawsuit in 2018 after an article published in Associated Press triggered privacy advocates to take serious concern over the location history tracking of the internet juggernaut.

After almost 5-years, a judgment was pronounced that probably did not go in favor of the web search giant and might make it pay the announced fine. However, the Android OS offering company can go against the appeal, provided it raises the dissent within a specific time frame.

The OAG of Connecticut says location data is vital for Google as it keeps track of its users’ identity, transit habits, and whereabouts, which is illegal, as it assists the company in targeting its users with relevant ads.

For instance, if suppose you have visited a furniture store, the American tech giant stores, and use the location history to slap the customer with relevant content, supposedly to furniture offers.

By default the location history is off when we purchase a smartphone loaded with Android OS. But some apps such as messaging platforms, web & app activity settings, and transport or delivery service offering apps need to access location and so the user is forced to opt for this feature, even against their desire.

Some companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Google argue they value the privacy of their consumers to the core and so do not track their user’s location history without their consent.

But who knows what the operating system, or the embedded hardware loaded onto a smartphone or a computing device keeps track of info?

Meaning, who knows what is happening behind the screens in the server farms and what data is being captured or recorded and stored for marketing or business purposes?

 

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Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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