Google sued by Arizona for tracking users’ locations in spite of settings

Arizona has filed suit against Google over tracking ’ locations even after they’ve turned tracking off, claiming that the advertising-fueled tech titan has a “complex web of and purported ‘consents’” that enable it to furtively milk us for sweet, sweet ad dollars.

On Wednesday, State Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a release that opting out of location tracking is a fool’s errand, given how sneaky Google is at playing bloodhound:

While Google users are led to believe they can opt-out of location tracking, the company exploits other avenues to invade personal privacy. It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent.

The AG said that Google’s location tracking is unfair, deceptive, and also against the law: in this case, the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

The AG’s Office kicked off its consumer fraud investigation in August 2018, after the Associated Press ran an article titled “Google tracks your movements, like it or not”. The article was based on research from Princeton University that found that Google’s ability to track users’ location histories went far deeper than many of us realized.

This is the way location tracking works: Android users can turn it off with a slider button in the Location section under Settings … supposedly.

Once tracking is turned off, Google no longer stores a timeline and a precise record of a user’s movements when they take their Android device (or iPhone running Google services and apps) with them.

Checking this in Maps can be done by visiting Google’s Account Settings >My Account Activity > Other Account Activity > click ‘Visit Timeline’ under Location History. This should show a history of a user’s movements while using their device.

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