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Google is watching your movements, like it or not

In this Dec. 4, 2017, photo, people walk by Google offices in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (Copyright 2017, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

(Copyright 2017, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google wants to know where you are so bad, that it records your movements, even when you explicitly tell it not to.

An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones recording your location data, even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing this.

Computer-science researchers at the university of Princeton confirmed these findings in the AP’s request.

For the most part, Google is upfront about to ask permission for the use of your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to access the location, if you want to use for the navigation. If you agree to let it record your location via Google Maps is shown that the history for you in a “timeline,” which maps out your daily movements.

Store your minute-by-minute travel carries privacy risks. So Google will let you “pause” a setting called location history.

Google says that prevents the company from to remember where you have been. The support page says: “You can specify the Location of the History at any time. With Location History from the places you go are no longer stored.”

But this is not true. Even with the Location, the History interrupted, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location datawithout questions.

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you only have to open Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones note your location. This allows searches that have nothing to do with the location.

The privacy issue affects around two billion users of devices that use Google’s Android operating system software and hundreds of millions of global iPhone users who rely on Google maps or search.

Save location data in violation of a user’s preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau. An investigator from Mayer’s lab confirmed the AP’s findings on multiple Android devices; the AP has its own tests on different iPhones and found the same behavior.

“If you are planning to users is to disable something called ‘Location History,” then all the places where you maintain the location of the history has to be turned off,” Mayer said.

Google says that it is perfectly clear.

“There are a number of different ways that Google can use location to enhance experience, including: Location, History, Web-and App-Activity, and by means of the device-level Location Services,” Google said in a statement to the AP. “We offer clear descriptions of these instruments, and sound checks, so people can turn them on or off, and removing their history at any time.”

To prevent Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off any other setting, although it is not specific location information. The name “Web-and App-Activity,” that the set of shops that offer a variety of information of Google apps, and websites to your Google account.

When paused, it will prevent the activity on each device is stored on your account. But leaving “Web & App Activity” on and turning the “Location” History ” only prevents Google to add your movements to the “timeline” visualization of your daily travels. It does not end Google’s collection of other location markers.

You can use this stored location markers on a page in your Google account myactivity.google.com. It is possible, although difficult, to remove them.

To show how powerful these other markers can be, the AP created a visual map of the movements of the Princeton postdoctoral researcher Gunes Acar, which is a Android phone with the Location of the history and a report of his Google account.

The map below contains Acar the train commute on two trips to New York and a visit to the High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell’s Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem.

Large high-tech companies are under increasing control of their data practices, after a series of privacy scandals on Facebook and new data-privacy rules recently adopted by the European Union.

Critics say that Google’s emphasis on tracking the locations of users, stems from the drive to boost advertising revenue.

“They are building, advertising information of the data,” said Peter Lenz, senior gis analyst at Dstillery, a rival advertising technology company. “More data for them probably means more profit.”

The AP learned of the matter of K. Shankari, a doctoral researcher at the university of Berkeley that a study of commuting patterns of volunteers to help city planners. She noticed that her Android-phone asked her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl’s, even though she had turned location history off.

“I am not against the background location-tracking in principle,” she said. “It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated.”

Google provides a more accurate description of how the Location of the History works in a pop-up if you need a break from the settings of your Google account web page . He notes that “some of the location data can be stored as part of your activity on other Google services such as Search and Maps.”

There is another obscure brands if you disable and re-enable the “Web & App Activity”. He notes that the setting “saves the things that you do on Google sites, apps, and services … and related information, such as the location.”

The alerts will be offered if you disable location history on Android-and iPhone-settings of the device are more difficult to interpret.

Since 2014, Google will let advertisers to measure the effectiveness of online advertising in driving foot traffic , a feature that Google has said that based on the location of the user stories.

 

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